Luton-based easyJet reports surge in bookings as roadmap out of Covid is revealed

Luton-based easyJet has seen a huge surge in holiday bookings after Boris Johnson's road map on releasing coronavirus restrictions was issued.

The Prime Minister said on Monday that a Government task force will produce a report by April 12 recommending how international trips can resume for people in England.

Foreign holidays could be permitted from May 17.

Credit: PA

In the hours after the announcement, easyJet said bookings by UK customers for the summer season were more than four times higher compared with the same period during the previous week.

The Luton-based firm's holiday division saw an even larger rise, with demand up seven-fold.

The most popular destinations for this summer are beach resorts including Malaga, Alicante and Palma in Spain, Faro in Portugal and the Greek island of Crete.

August is the most booked month, followed by July and September.

EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said there was huge pent up demand for travel and customers were keen to get overseas again.

"The Prime Minister's address has provided a much-needed boost in confidence for so many of our customers in the UK with demand for flights up 337% and holidays up 630% already compared to last week and beach destinations proving most popular for this summer.

Johan Lundgren, easyJet

He added: "While the summer may be a little while off, we will be working around the clock to ensure we will be ready to ramp up our flights to reconnect friends and family or take them on a long-awaited holiday to remember."

EasyJet insists that customers can "book with confidence" as it has a flexible policy for allowing changes to itineraries.

Online travel firm Thomas Cook, formerly based in Peterborough, said traffic to its website was up 60% during the three hours after Mr Johnson's statement to the Commons.

Chief executive Alan French described the announcement as "good news for those of us desperate to get away on holiday".

But the boss of Southend Airport urged more help to see the aviation industry through the coming months.

Glyn Jones, CEO, London Southend Airport said the sector had already lost two summer seasons and see severe disruption, which was putting thousands of jobs at risk.

"We continue to seek clarity, not just for employers and affected organisations, but to also offer passenger confidence. Testing and quarantine arrangements are changeable, as are travel corridors and the latest ‘red list’ of countries."

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the effectiveness of vaccines against coronavirus strains will play a major part in the international travel review.

He added that "we can be much more relaxed about international travel" if vaccines work well against strains of the virus from South Africa and Brazil.

"If the vaccine doesn't work against them, then that will be much, much more difficult," he said.