Author: By Kelly Macnamara, Press Association
EasyJet posted underlying pre-tax profits of £43.7 million for the year to 30
September, compared with £123.1 million in 2008.
The firm said it was an “extremely resilient” performance in the
circumstances, but predicted a “tough winter” as rising
unemployment takes its toll on demand.
EasyJet said it expected a “substantial” improvement to profits next year as
capacity improves and it benefits from the effect of hedging on fuel prices.
Chief executive Andy Harrison said: “This is an extremely resilient
performance, making easyJet the best-performing European airline based on
our robust yields.
“We are one of the very few European airlines to make a profit during the last
12 recessionary months.”
But he said the next few months would be difficult.
“We are focusing our efforts on further cost savings and efficiency
improvements together with optimising route profitability and aircraft
allocation,” he added.
EasyJet carried more passengers in the year – up 3.4 per cent to 45.2 million
– and the firm said its European short-haul position had strengthened in the
period, with gains in Paris, London Gatwick, Milan and Madrid.
The “no frills” carrier said total revenue per seat had risen 4.1 per cent at
constant currency, but 10.9 per cent overall, as competitors cut their
capacity by around 6 per cent in the face of the downturn.
In contrast, easyJet said its capacity, measured in seats flown, grew by 1.8
per cent during the year.
The firm said it had focused on higher performing routes, closing 28 while
And it has already revealed plans to continue growing, with the aim of upping
its share of the European short-haul market from 7 per cent to 10 per cent
over the next five years.
The airline has resolved a long-running row with its founder and biggest
shareholder, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, over growth plans, agreeing a fleet
expansion programme at a rate of 7.5 per cent a year.
Sir Stelios last year increased his personal stake in the business to nearly
27 per cent as the spat intensified, with the easyGroup millionaire wanting
the board to consider maintaining dividend payments by scaling back growth
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