Busy summer sees easyJet anticipating bumper profits
Budget airline easyJet has said its results for the year to September 30 are set to be at the top end of City expectations, with anticipated pre-tax profits of up to £480 million.
The Luton-based carrier, which posted £317 million profits in 2012, said passenger demand had been strong throughout the heatwave summer.
Despite industry fears the warm sunny weather might impact on summer getaways, easyJet defied concerns and figures also showed that it carried 4.8% more passengers in September.
Its annual results are expected to show that revenues per seat increased by around 6%.
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But the company cautioned that half-year fuel costs were expected to rise by up to £30 million year-on-year, while currency movements would also have a £10 million impact.
The budget carrier, which announced its summer 2014 schedule earlier this week, has dashed local hopes that it will continue a within a regular Gatwick bound service from Newquay.
EasyJet acquired 26 UK routes into Gatwick from Flybe – which currently operates three daily return flights between the two airports – in a £20 million deal in August.
But easyJet has said that there was "insufficient demand" to continue with the schedule when it takes over the landing slots from Exeter-based Flybe on March 30.
Cornwall Council's cabinet member for partnerships, Adam Paynter, expressed "disappointment" over the budget airline's decision, in the wake of "detailed discussions" with the Luton carrier.
He said that Cornwall Council would be seeking the support of the Duchy's six MPs and the Government to explore all options for maintaining a regular air link between Cornwall and the capital.
EasyJet plans to reintroduce two summer routes from Newquay next year, to Liverpool and to 'London' Southend airport – a 53-minute train journey from the capital's Liverpool Street station. Its focus is upon leisure break options for travellers and says that the routes will boost Cornwall's tourism economy.
The airline was recently given the green light to modernise its fleet after shareholders backed plans to order up to 235 new aircraft – in spite of objections from founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou.
It will upgrade and expand its fleet by acquiring 135 Airbus planes over the next nine years.