EasyJet soars as it benefits from business and pleasure

Budget airline courts business travellers with fast-track security

Shares in easyJet today flew up 6 per cent to a fresh high as sun-seeking travellers helped to halve its first-half losses and the budget carrier launched a fresh assault on the business market.

The budget airline announced it will give business travellers who buy its more flexible but more expensive “flexi fares” free access to fast-track security lanes at 27 airports including Gatwick, Stansted and Paris Charles De Gaulle to cut journey times.

It is the latest part of easyJet’s strategy to steal corporate customers from the likes of British Airways, owned by International Airlines Group.  Since chief executive Carolyn McCall took the pilot’s  seat at easyJet three years ago, it has added flights between business destinations and launched allocated seating to build its appeal to corporate travellers.

Five years ago, the airline flew 7.5 million people on business. Last year, that number approached 10 million as all the major banks and Parliament signed up to send staff on the budget carrier.

That growth in business travel — especially from Amsterdam, Edinburgh and Belfast to London — plus an earlier Easter and strong bookings from Britons who were sick of this year’s long cold winter saw FTSE 100-listed easyJet cut its pre-tax loss to £61 million for the six months to April. That was down from £112 million a year ago. The first half is traditionally lossmaking for airlines.

EasyJet added that it was in the “final stages of commercial evaluation” with planemakers Airbus and Boeing about a significant expansion of its fleet.

But the airline’s founder and still biggest shareholder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou said of today’s figures: “Good things happen to airlines that do not order more aircraft. The results today were the outcome of buying only two new planes in the last six months while selling six.

“All this good work could be undone by the vanity exercise of buying new aircraft. There are hardly any new routes left that can make a good profit to justify their cost.”

The shares rose 60p to 1189.6p.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Report Writer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Technical Report Writer is re...

MBDA UK Ltd: Indirect Procurement Category Manager

Competitive salary & benefits!: MBDA UK Ltd: MBDA UK LTD Indirect Procurement...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£16500 - £16640 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing Finance compa...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore