British airline EasyJet on Tuesday predicted that annual losses would narrow and declared the recovery was “underway”, helped by rising passenger numbers and easing Covid travel restrictions.

Pre-tax losses will drop to between £1.14 billion and £1.18 billion (€1.34 billion and €1.39 billion) in the year to September 2021, EasyJet forecast in a statement.

That follows a record pre-tax loss of £1.27 billion in its prior financial year, when the pandemic devastated travel demand and ravaged airlines worldwide.

“It is clear recovery is under way,” said chief executive Johan Lundgren, noting the return of business and leisure travel.

“We have seen city breaks beginning to return alongside growing demand for leisure travel from customers looking for flights and holidays to popular winter sun destinations including Egypt and Turkey.”

The airline, based in Luton north of London, added that capacity was expected to be up to 70 per cent of pre-pandemic 2019 levels in the three months to December.

EasyJet also revealed it was experienced soaring sales after the recent relaxation in Britain’s COVID travel restrictions.

The government last week removed 47 countries from its red list, meaning that arriving passengers no longer require a quarantine hotel in Britain.

London also lifted its advice against non-essential travel to a further 42 countries and territories, and unveiled plans to ease COVID testing measures.

“We had a 400 per cent increase to Egypt and Turkey, so customers are eager to go,” said Lundgren.

“It’s important to note that from July 1 the rest of Europe removed all restrictions for double-vaccinated passengers and clearly that’s what we’d like to see happen in the UK.

“The new announcements are a good step in the right direction.”

He said that in Europe, “travel has been allowed to grow” and there had not been any evidence that it had worsened the pandemic.

Annual results will be published at the end of November.

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