EasyJet Plc said full-year traffic climbed 6.5 percent as Europe’s No. 2 discount carrier boosted capacity at its London Gatwick base and increased efforts to lure corporate travelers.
The Luton, England-based carrier flew 65.3 million people in the year through December, four million more than in 2013, it said in a statement today. The 2014 load factor, a measure of occupancy, gained 1.5 percentage points to 90.8 percent.
Under Chief Executive Officer Carolyn McCall, EasyJet has increased its presence at key airports such as Gatwick and targeted corporate travelers with add-ons such as allocated seats and flexible fares. The carrier attracted 12 million business people in fiscal year 2014, sharpening competition as full-service rivals Air France-KLM Group and Deutsche Lufthansa AG faced strikes over their efforts to develop discount units.
Rival Ryanair Holdings Plc said on Jan. 5 that in the 12 months to the end of December it carried 86.4 million passengers, a 6 percent gain. Europe’s biggest low-cost carrier aims to fly just over 90 million people in its current fiscal year, which ends in March.
EasyJet increased passenger numbers by 3.2 percent in December to 4.6 million people, as its load factor rose half a percentage point to 88.4 percent.
Competitor Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA today reported that full-year passenger numbers were little changed at almost 24 million people. The airline estimated a loss of 509 million Norwegian kroner ($66 million) in the quarter through December related to its fuel hedging positions.
Separately, Irish carrier Aer Lingus Group Plc today reported a 3.2 percent increase in full-year traffic, including its regional business, to just over 11 million people. Long-haul passenger numbers were up over 20 percent to 1.3 million people, the Dublin-based carrier said in a statement.
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