EasyJet profits tumble 17% amid weakness in sterling
Budget airline easyJet has seen annual profits nosedive by 17% after taking a £101m hit from the weak pound, but confirmed a boost from the demise of rivals and recent woes at Ryanair.
In her last set of results before taking on the top job at ITV, chief executive Carolyn McCall said it had been a "difficult" year for the industry as she posted headline pre-tax profits of £408m, down from £494m the previous year.
The pound's plunge since the Brexit vote took its toll on the carrier's bottom line, while a price war also left revenues per seat falling 7.8% with currency changes stripped out.
But the blow to its profits was not as bad as first feared thanks to a record performance in the final three months after a shambolic showing from rival Ryanair, which has had to cancel hundreds of flights after miscalculating pilot leave.
The group also said trading so far in its new financial year has been "encouraging" thanks to last month's collapse of Luton-based carrier Monarch, as well as the demise of Air Berlin and Alitalia going into administration.
Forward bookings are higher than a year earlier, at 88% for the first quarter and 26% up for the second quarter.
EasyJet flies to around 25 destinations from Belfast International Airport.