EasyJet (EZJ.L) has unveiled quarterly losses after taking a £133m ($160m) hit due to widespread delays and staff shortages, but said its operations are getting back to normal following cuts to its flight schedule.
Shares in the FTSE 250 (^FTMC) company were up 4.2% in mid-morning trade in London after dipping briefly following the trading update on Tuesday.
The low-budget carrier trimmed its pre-tax loss to £114m for the three months to the end of June, from a loss of £318m the previous year. Revenue came in at £1.76bn.
"The unprecedented ramp up across the aviation industry, coupled with a tight labour market, has resulted in widespread operational challenges culminating in higher levels of cancellations than normal," the airline said.
The loss in the quarter is significant as its a crucial period during which airlines normally make profit to make up for loss-making months in the winter.
However, Europe's second largest airline said it still operated 95% of its planned schedule in the quarter.
Chief executive Johan Lundgren said its summer operations had now "normalised" and were "much improved" in July after recent moves by airports to demand a cut in flight programmes.
The carrier said it remains focused on ensuring "smooth operations this summer" and will continue to "fine tune" its schedule, signalling further flight cuts if needed.
EasyJet has been one of the hardest hit by the worker crisis plaguing the aviation sector after it cut its headcount at the height of the pandemic and has been unable to recruit fast enough to keep up with higher demand.
Although London Gatwick and Amsterdam Schiphol airports – its two biggest bases – capped flights, it expects capacity in Q4 to be around 90% of the same period in 2019, adding it will continue to fine-tune the schedule as required.
The airline plans to seek compensation from airports such as Gatwick for capping flight numbers to mitigate further travel chaos during the peak summer holiday period.
Lundgren said that this was "clearly something that we will be discussing with [airport] operators", but refused to provide further details on the level of compensation sought.
It comes as Heathrow airport on Tuesday insisted its decision to cap passenger numbers to 100,000 a day earlier in July has delivered a "material improvement" in punctuality and baggage handling.
The move sparked a backlash among airlines, with Emirates airline initially refusing the demand, and the industry has since been locked in a blame game over recent travel upheaval.
Watch: Heathrow and easyJet update on flight chaos as both reveal big financial hits