Britain’s biggest budget airline, easyJet, filled two planes every minute at peak booking times and saw its biggest-ever day for sales on Saturday 6 January 2024.
August is the best-selling month for package holidays.
The airline’s holidays division reports that three out of five of its sales were for all-inclusive resorts, with seven out of 10 holidaymakers choosing four- or five-star properties.
Lesser-known destinations – the Greek island of Skiathos, Zadar in Croatia, Tivat in Montenegro and La Rochelle – saw sales growth.
With 10 weeks of the winter sports season remaining, Geneva, Lyon and Innsbruck are top for ski breaks.
The holiday division grew 48 per cent year-on-year, with an expected increase of one-third in 2024.
In a first-quarter trading update, for the three months from October to December 2023, Johan Lundgren, chief executive of easyJet, said: “With flights and holidays bookings taking off during this traditionally busy booking period as well as strong booking momentum for summer 2024, we continue to see that the value and importance of holidays for our customers.”
Mr Lundgren said air-traffic control staff shortages and industrial relations in Europe remained “challenging”. He called for improvements in air-traffic practices to reduce flight distances and carbon emissions.
On Sunday evening, easyJet and many other airlines experienced extreme weather conditions with many diversions due to Storm Isha.
One easyJet flight from Edinburgh to Bristol diverted to Paris Charles de Gaulle.
Mr Lundgren told The Independent: “We prioritise safety above everything. The crew did an amazing job in challenging conditions. There were no options for diversion other than Paris CDG – we ran out of alternatives in the UK.
“We can’t do anything about the weather.”
EasyJet Holidays is seeking to expand against larger rivals: Jet2 Holidays, Tui and Love Holidays. On Tuesday, Europe’s biggest budget airline, Ryanair, announced a partnership with the online travel agent Love Holidays.
EasyJet has also announced an order for 314 CFM engines to power its order of 157 new Airbus aircraft.