Holiday and airline group Jet2 has blamed the coronavirus pandemic after posting a £111m loss in the six months to September.
The loss compares to the £361.5m profit the group made last year, before COVID-19 hit the travel and tourism market.
Like most airlines, Jet2 grounded its fleet in the middle of March as coronavirus became widespread, also putting around 80% of its UK staff on the government furlough scheme.
The industry was hit by a massive fall in demand for travel, restrictions for travellers entering other countries, and UK rules that told people to stay at home.
Jet2 resumed operations on 15 July, after the UK government introduced a list of countries from which travellers could arrive in the UK without isolating for two weeks.
Since then, the group has concentrated on flying routes it finds to be more profitable “supported by our quick to market flexible operating model”.
In the six months to September, Jet2 flew 999,000 single sector passengers, compared to more than 10 million at the same point last year.
The average load factor (how full a plane is) was just 69%, compared to 93.1% last year, a fall blamed on “uncertainty created by the several changes in UK government quarantine guidance”.
Jet2’s executive chairman Philip Meeson said the year had been one of “unprecedented operational and financial challenges” but the group had benefited from a “strong and carefully-managed balance sheet” and its “considered but swift response to the pandemic”.
“As is typical for the business, further losses are to be expected in the second half of the financial year, as we ready ourselves operationally for the proposed summer 21 flying programme.
“In addition, the ability to fly in the short term remains uncertain, as UK government guidance currently restricts international travel except in limited circumstances, until at least 3 December 2020.”