EasyJet losses shrink during winter season as business travellers snap up seats

The low-cost airline, Europe's biggest after rival Ryanair, usually doesn't make a profit in its first half

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The Independent Online

Budget carrier easyJet saw its losses shrink during its traditional 'off-season' as it attracted record numbers of business passengers,

The low-cost airline, Europe's biggest after rival Ryanair, usually doesn't make a profit in its first half as it covers the winter season when fewer of its customers fly.

But this year the company said first-half losses looked set to be considerable smaller at between £10 million and £30 million, compared with a loss of £53 million last year.

Boss Carolyn McCall said the performance was down to the addition of an extra 500,000 seats, the majority of which were at airports where easyJet has a number one or number two position.

"This, combined with our new TV ads aimed at business travellers, enabled easyJet to sell record numbers of seats to business travellers in the first quarter," McCall said.

EasyJet is not the only budget carrier courting business travellers. Ryanair has moved to get more suits in seats though new routes, additional capacity and by making improvements to its customer service.

Ryanair shares hit an all-time high this month after passenger numbers surged, building on strong momentum in December, when it raised its profit forecast for the second time in a month.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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