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UK's Jet2 says winter bookings encouraging as travel season pushed back

By Reuters

By Sarah Young

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Jet2 said bookings for winter and summer 2022 were encouraging but it had less visibility on immediate travel as passengers delay holidays amid the uncertainty, threatening hopes for a bumper peak season.

Late May had been seen as the kickoff for the post-pandemic travel recovery, but ongoing restrictions across Europe and a lack of clarity on when they will be relaxed has pushed that timetable back.

Some airlines and holiday firms are now writing off the early summer season and focusing on late summer with an expectation that peak travel will stretch into the autumn this year.

Jet2 has already cancelled holidays until June 24, hoping that by that time it will have more clarity from the UK government on where people can go.

Another UK-based travel firm, Thomas Cook, which sells holidays online, said that 30% of its total bookings were for September and October, a much higher proportion than it would expect for those months, as people are more confident they will be able to travel then.

Leeds, northern England-based Jet2 said that for the 12 months ended March 2021, it would report a loss of between 375 million pounds ($521 million) to 385 million pounds, which analysts said was a beat on the consensus forecast for a 470 million pound loss.

Jet2 said it had liquidity of 1.06 billion pounds, which Jefferies analysts said meant it could survive for around 15 months without flying.

“Given the short-term uncertainty, customers are booking significantly closer to departure for Summer 21,” Jet2 said in its statement on Tuesday.

“We continue to be encouraged by the volume of customer bookings for both winter 21/22 and for summer 22,” the company added.

($1 = 0.7197 pounds)

(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Kate Holton)