Gatwick Airport drone chaos cost easyJet £15m

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Low-cost carrier easyJet says the disruption to its flight schedule due to the drone chaos at Gatwick Airport just before Christmas cost the carrier about £15 million.

The airline is the gateway’s biggest airlines said it had to fork out £10 million in “customer welfare costs” while it had also lost £5 million of revenues as it had to make a raft of cancellations.

About 82,000 of easyJet’s customers were affected as more than 400 flights were cancelled due to the drone sightings which caused the closure of the airport for 36 hours from 19-21 December.

easyJet has also reported that passengers numbers rose by 15 per cent to 21.6 million in the last three months of 2018 driven by an increase in capacity of 18.2 per cent.

Chief executive, Johan Lundgren said: “For the first half of 2019, booking levels currently remain encouraging despite the lack of certainty around Brexit for our customers.

“Second half bookings continue to be ahead of last year and our expectations for the full year headline profit before tax are broadly in line with current market expectations.”

The airline said it was pleased with its finances and also “well prepared” for Brexit, that includes registering 130 aircraft in Austria.

easyJet’s total revenue rose by 13.7 per cent, to £1,296 million, in the first quarter. Passenger revenue increased by 12.2 per cent, to £1,025 million, in the three months to 31 December, while ancillary revenue increased by 19.9 per cent to £271 million.