EasyJet revenues get weather lift
A surge in Easter bookings as Britons escaped the freezing weather helped budget airline easyJet deliver more strong trading figures.
The Luton-based carrier said it expected to cut losses by almost half for the six months to March 31, despite more cancellations in the recent poor weather and the twin impact of rising fuel costs and the weaker pound.
Revenues per seat for the half year grew by around 8.5%, in part due to stronger than anticipated late bookings in the run-up to Easter.
The group's loss for the seasonally quieter first half is now expected to be between £60 million and £65 million, compared with £112 million a year ago and its January forecast of between £50 million and £75 million.
Chief executive Carolyn McCall said the poor weather across the UK and northern Europe stimulated bookings towards the end of the half year, while the airline also benefited from winter capacity cuts by rival airlines.
She added: "Easyjet's performance over the first half reflects the continuing successful delivery of our strategy of low fares, coupled with friendly service on Europe's leading network."
The company, which joined the FTSE 100 Index last month after its share price more than doubled in two years, has benefited from the launch of allocated seating, which helped it attract 10 million business passengers last year.
It has consistently beaten City expectations for profits but a long-running war of words with founder and major shareholder Sir Stelios Haji Ioannou has overshadowed some of its recent success.