EasyJet Plc, Europe’s second-biggest discount airline, said full-year earnings beat its forecasts following a surge in demand for flights from London after the end of the 2012 Olympic Games.
Pretax profit for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30 will be in the range of 310 million pounds to 320 million pounds ($500 million to $516 million), EasyJet said today. That’s at least 25 percent higher than a year earlier and compares with guidance given on July 25 for a figure no higher than 300 million pounds.
“EasyJet has had a strong summer performance which has enabled us to deliver another good year of returns,” CEO Carolyn McCall said in a statement, adding that the Luton, England-based carrier benefited from “strong post-Olympic trading and a benign operating environment.”
McCall has added flights on key routes while introducing allocated seating, flexible tickets and sales via corporate agents to grab a bigger slice of the corporate market. About 21 percent of the airline’s 57 million passengers are travelling for business, the executive said yesterday. EasyJet’s annual pretax profit has more than doubled from 154 million pounds since McCall joined in July 2010.
EasyJet shares rose 3.4 percent to 614 pence at 8:45 a.m. in London trading, bringing the gain this year to 43 percent.
Bookings on flights from London to beach holiday destinations such as Malaga in Spain and Faro, Portugal jumped in the weeks following the 2012 Games. In spite of concerns that the event would cause delays and over-burden airports, the Olympics caused “very low levels” of disruption, EasyJet said.
One Third Sold
The airline sold one third of seats available in the current quarter. It carried 5.45 million passengers during September, a 5.2 percent increase from a year earlier, the company said in a separate statement. Over the past 12 months, the airline has flown 58.4 million people, filling 88.7 percent of seats available.
EasyJet is 77 percent hedged at an average price of $985 a metric ton of jet fuel for the year ending September 2013. Airport costs will be about 80 million pounds higher in this fiscal year because of increased charges in Spain and Italy, the company said.
–Editors: Chris Jasper, Robert Valpuesta.