Gatwick Airport drone chaos costs easyJet £15m

Crowds at Gatwick after the airport was closed because of disruption by drones SUS-181220-124056001
Crowds at Gatwick after the airport was closed because of disruption by drones SUS-181220-124056001

Drone chaos at Gatwick which closed the airport for almost two days cost an airline £15m, it has been revealed.

easyJet has announced its quarterly figures which included a ‘one-off cost impact’ due to the incident which grounded hundreds of flights last month.

Armed police at Gatwick Airport SUS-181221-133817001

Armed police at Gatwick Airport SUS-181221-133817001

The company confirmed it paid £10m to customers in welfare costs due to the forced airport closure which affected 82,000 of its customers.

More than 400 flights were cancelled costing the airline a further £5m, it added.

However, despite the loss caused by the chaos easyJet said it had delivered a ‘good performance’ in the quarter.

Johan Lundgren, easyJet chief executive, said: “easyJet has made a good start to the 2019 financial year with robust customer demand and ancillary sales, driving solid revenue generation. This was underpinned by good operating and on-time performance across the network, with the exception of the disruption caused by the Gatwick closures due to drone sightings. There has been be a one-off cost impact from this incident, but underlying cost progress is in line with expectations. I am proud of the way our teams worked around the clock to mitigate the impact of the incident and looked after affected customers.

“Recognition of the easyJet brand continues to grow. We made good progress on our strategic initiatives; holidays, business, loyalty and data during the quarter.

“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 company also confirmed it was well prepared for Brexit.

It said bookings from beyond March 29 were ‘solid and robust’ and its financial expectations for the year ahead were ‘in line with current market expectations’.