Tom Keighley

easyJet expected to make losses of up to £90 million

Low cost airline easyJet say they expect to make losses of between £70 million to £90 million in the first half of the year.

The firm blamed a “challenging environment” which included a lull in demand following the peak of last year’s Olympics, and flight restrictions to Egypt.

It also said the later timing of Easter this year meant trading over the bank holiday would fall into its second half results.

This morning’s trading update revealed easyJet managed to increase the number of business travellers choosing their cheap flights over the Christmas period.

The proportion of business fliers grew by 8.9% in the quarter to December 31 2013, ahead of the overall passenger growth of 4.2%.

Over 14 million passengers flew on easyJet routes in the quarter, boosting the firm’s per-seat revenue by 3.4% to £55.71.

However, regulatory charges at airports and increased maintenance costs associated with the company’s ageing fleet meant cost per-seat, excluding fuel, increased by 3%.

Carolyn McCall, easyJet chief executive said: “easyJet has made a good start to the year. We have delivered revenue per seat growth in the quarter against a challenging competitive environment and the tough comparison with the prior year.

“The performance in the quarter demonstrates our continued focus on cost, progress against our strategic priorities and easyJet’s structural advantage in the European short-haul market against both the legacy and low-cost competition.

“Our strategy of offering our customers low fares to great destinations with friendly service and a focus on cost control ensures that we can continue to deliver sustainable growth and returns for our shareholders.”

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