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EasyJet shares fall on profit miss, CEO departure

Shares of EasyJet fell more than 7% on Thursday after the low-cost airline posted a slightly larger-than-expected loss in the first half of the fiscal year and announced the forthcoming departure of its CEO.

Pre-tax losses came in at £350 million ($443 million) for the six months to March, higher than the £340 million expected by analysts, according to a LSEG poll cited by Reuters.

The figure marked a narrowing from the £411 million pre-tax headline loss reported a year earlier, as the airline continued to emerge from a Covid-19-era travel slump.

The company also announced that CEO Johan Lundgren will be stepping down in January 2025 after seven years at the helm of the business. He will be replaced by current chief financial officer Kenton Jarvis.

EasyJet shares pared losses slightly to trade down 5.9% by 10:53 a.m. London time.

Lundgren told CNBC that the company sees "positive momentum" coming into the summer travel season, with consumers continuing to spend on travel, particularly to classic European destinations such as Spain, Portugal and Turkey.

"People are really prioritizing holidays and travel, so we don't see that there's a difference in the demand pattern that we've seen since the recovery of the pandemic," he said.

The CEO added that he does not expect EasyJet schedules to be impacted this travel season, despite wider concerns about supply constraints within the industry.

"I think we're probably one of the few airlines here, at least in Europe, that are getting all of the deliveries that we were expecting from Airbus," he said. "It certainly will be less than some airlines were expecting, but we are not affected by that."