Businesses downsizing travel expenditure and holidaymakers cutting back on long-haul has helped easyJet report a 32 per cent leap in sales for the fourth quarter. Chief excutive Andy Harrison said its results in half year to end-March “will be ahead of previous guidance”.
Total revenue rose to £550 million, up from £418 million a year earlier as the number of passengers rose from 9.1 million to 10.1 million. Revenue per seat rose 23 per cent from £36.90 to £45.57 as the airline raise its ancillary costs, including checked baggage, as well as raising it range of inflight food and beverages.
Much of the passenger growth came from its Gatwick hub, most notably to Milan, Paris and Madrid.
Andy Harrison, chief executive of easyJet, said: “This is a good performance. In particular, we are seeing business travellers and long-haul leisure travellers switching to easyJet in search of better value. This is more than compensating for some softness in discretionary travel and means easyJet continues to win market share.”
Mr Harrison admitted that the outlook for the summer remained uncertain due to the economic downturn and collapse of sterling.
He said: “The economic outlook across Europe remains uncertain and we continue to monitor any potential impact on UK to eurozone bookings following the sharp decline in the value of sterling. Despite these concerns, forward books over the second and third quarters remain in line with last year,” he said.
easyJet’s board was embroiled in a row with founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou in December after he called for two extra boardroom seats, and less aggressive expansion.
Sir Stelios, who is a non-executive director and the carrier’s largest shareholder with 26.9 percent, said he was pleased with the first-quarter performance and added that a flexible approach to the company’s fleet size would ensure a “continued good performance”.