EasyJet Plc posted its first profit in more than a decade for the six months spanning the winter season as low fuel costs and favorable exchange rates bolstered its efforts to win market share from network rivals.

Profit before tax in the fiscal first half through March 31 was 7 million pounds ($10.9 million), compared with a loss of 53 million pounds a year earlier, the Luton, England-based airline said in a statement today. The company said in March that earnings would be between a loss of 5 million pounds and a profit of 10 million pounds.

Europe’s second-biggest discount airline has sought to win passengers from carriers such as Air France-KLM Group and Deutsche Lufthansa AG by expanding its presence at key airports such as London Gatwick and targeting corporate travelers with add-ons such as allocated seats and flexible-fares. EasyJet lifted passenger numbers 4.4 percent to 28.9 million in the first half, and capacity by 3.6 percent.

“Forward bookings are in line with last year and as we predicted passengers are benefiting as fares fall to reflect a more competitive operating environment and lower fuel costs,” Chief Executive Officer Carolyn McCall said in the statement. EasyJet remains “well positioned to grow revenue and profit this year,” she said.

 

This article was written by Kari Lundgren from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network

Photo Credit: An Easyjet airliner lands for the opening of a new base of the low cost airline at Nice International airport March 21, 2012. Eric Gaillard / Reuters