EasyJet Restores Dividend, Confident in Rebound Despite War

(Bloomberg) -- EasyJet Plc signaled confidence in a sustained recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, reinstating its dividend even as the conflict between Israel and Hamas disrupts air travel in the short term.

Bookings are strong for the summer 2024 high season, the UK budget carrier said Tuesday as it reported results for the just-ended fiscal year. With competitors struggling to field aircraft, EasyJet said its overall outlook for the coming year is positive, with capacity set to rise 8% in the second half of the year ending in September 2024.

EasyJet plans to issue a dividend of 4.5 pence per share early next year, and raise it from there after suspending the payout during the Covid-19 crisis. For the new fiscal year, the carrier is targeting a dividend equal to 20% of after-tax profit. It follows Ryanair Holdings Plc, which said this month it will pay a regular dividend for the first time.

Airlines have stormed back from the downturn brought on by the pandemic, which disrupted travel and strained balance sheets worldwide. EasyJet on Tuesday reported record second-half profit, and said it’s well positioned for the coming summer season. The shares rose as much as 4.8%.