easyJet has reported a sharp increase in profits despite soaring fuel costs.
Luton-based easyJet reported earlier underlying profit before tax increased by £60 million to £248 million in the year to September 30th, despite a £100 million increase in unit fuel costs.
The strong performance was due to firm control of costs, effective yield management, the strength of easyJet’s network and focus on customers, the company said.
Carolyn McCall easyJet chief executive said: “We have announced a total cash return to shareholders for the year of approximately £195 million or 45.4 pence per share.
“Despite the headwinds of higher fuel costs and a weak and uncertain economic outlook, our focus on customers, robust operational performance, the strength of easyJet’s network combined with cost control and capital discipline means that easyJet is well placed to succeed.”
Total revenue per seat at the carrier – recognised as Europe’s Leading Low-cost Airline by the World Travel Awards - was up 4.1 per cent to £55.27.
Passenger numbers rose 11.8 per cent to 54.5 million and load factor improved by 0.3 percentage points to 87.3 per cent.
Passengers travelling with easyJet on business increased by almost one million to 9.5 million over the period. The carrier has been courting business passengers following the introduction of Flexi Fares during the year.
Earnings per share at easyJet improved by 24.1 pence to 52.5 pence per share, of which around nine pence resulted from changes in the UK corporation tax rate and the resolution of various tax enquiries.