EasyJet announced it will raise up to £450 million in additional financing today through an issue of shares as it reported results for the six months to the end of March.

The carrier will issue almost 60 million new shares or about 15% of easyJet’s existing equity, as it seeks to raise £400 million to £450 million to improve its liquidity position.

EasyJet reported having £2.4 billion in cash available ahead of the share placing and said it is “well positioned for the recovery from Covid-19” following “decisive action” in cutting costs and capital expenditure.

The carrier resumed UK flights on June 15, chiefly domestically, and reported: “Capacity is expected to build through the summer season.”

However, easyJet’s scheduled capacity in the three months to September is likely to remain just 30% of its planned, pre-Covid-19 capacity.

EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren reported: “EasyJet delivered a strong performance in the first half prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in a 30% improvement in headline loss before tax versus the same period last year.”

Passenger numbers for the six months to March fell by three million to 38.6 million due to the impact of Covid-19.

Group revenue increased by 1.6% to almost £2.4 billion and easyJet reported a loss before tax of £353 million.

Lundgren said: “We have been decisive in meeting the challenges of the pandemic by cutting costs, vastly reducing our capex while retaining our industry leading fleet flexibility and have already secured £1.7 billion of an expected £2 billion in additional funding.

“We successfully resumed operations on June 15, incorporating enhanced bio-security measures to ensure our staff and customers can fly safely.

“We will gradually ramp up our flying to around 75% of our routes in August, albeit with lower frequencies.

“We are also continuing to work to strengthen our balance sheet. Today we’ve announced plans for an equity placing which will further enhance easyJet’s already strong balance sheet through the Covid-19 recovery.”

The carrier described bookings for easyJet Holidays as “encouraging”, but said it was not possible to provide financial guidance for the remainder of the financial year.

But Lundgren insisted: “As Europe emerges from the Covid-19 crisis, easyJet is well placed to strengthen its leading position.”