EasyJet halves its losses as Britons flee the big freeze

 

Britons escaping our cold weather to seek last-minute sunshine abroad helped easyJet almost halve its first-half losses in its first update as a FTSE 100 company today.

The UK and Europe’s particularly cold winter and sub-zero temperatures at the start of spring wasn’t all good news for the budget carrier: snow meant it cancelled more flights than usual, holding capacity growth to3.3% rather than the expected 3.5% for the six months to April.

But easyJet also cashed in on the big freeze, as a rash of late bookings for Easter to winter sunspots including Egypt’s Sharm el Sheikh and Madeira in Portugal raised sales. The airline’s prices are also higher when passengers book closer to take-off time. “Poor weather across the UK and northern Europe stimulated strong bookings in the last few weeks of the first half of the financial year,” chief executive Carolyn McCall  said.

EasyJet’s pre-tax loss for the six months to April will be between £60 million and £65 million, sharply down from its £112 million dive into the red this time last year.

The early Easter also boosted the carrier’s results, and it said that good snow across Europe’s ski resorts for the last two months had also meant stronger than usual sales on its Geneva route, a gateway to the French Alps.

The current cold snap has even seen more passengers than usual booking flights for sunny destinations for October and November this year, an airline spokesman said, plus “very healthy bookings” for the February school half-term in 2014.

But easyJet shares faced a descent from their recent record highs — they were hovering at just under £4 when McCall took over in July 2010 before exceeding £11 this year — falling 3.9% or 42p to 1055p today.

“Technical signals are beginning to suggest traders losing interest, questioning whether this flight has gone too far and the shares are running out of fuel,” Mike van Dulken at Accendo said. But McCall focused on the airline’s performance and  “our disciplined approach to capacity deployment and a focus on cost management.”

The chief executive also today exercised existing options to place an order for three new Airbus A320  jets, whilst the airline is still mulling a another large plane order which easyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou has vehemently opposed.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is a mul...

Guru Careers: C# Project Team Lead

£55 - 65k (DOE): Guru Careers: A unique opportunity for a permanent C# Develop...

Guru Careers: Graduate Editor / Editorial Assistant

£16 - 20k: Guru Careers: A Graduate Editor / Editorial Assistant is needed to ...

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Day In a Page

Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada
Birthplace of Arab Spring in turmoil as angry Tunisians stage massive sit-in over lack of development

They shall not be moved: jobless protesters bring Tunisia to a halt

A former North African boom town is wasting away while its unemployed citizens stick steadfastly to their sit-in
David Hasselhoff's new show 'Hoff the Record': What's it like working with a superstar?

Hanging with the Hoff

Working with David Hasselhoff on his new TV series was an education for Ella Smith
Can Dubai's Design District 'hipster village' attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?

Hipsters of Arabia

Can Dubai’s ‘creative village’ attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?
The cult of Roger Federer: What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?

The cult of Roger Federer

What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?
Kuala Lumpur's street food: Not a 'scene', more a way of life

Malaysian munchies

With new flights, the amazing street food of Kuala Lumpur just got more accessible
10 best festival beauty

Mud guards: 10 best festival beauty

Whether you're off to the Isle of Wight, Glastonbury or a local music event, we've found the products to help you
Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe

A Different League

Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe, says Pete Jenson
Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey - Steve Bunce

Steve Bunce on Boxing

Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf