EasyJet profits soar by 51% as budget airline reaches new heights

 

Low-cost airline easyJet's annual profits soared 51 per cent today, after efforts to attract more business passengers saw more 60 million passengers board their aircrafts for the first time.

The Luton-based carrier hailed the success of recent initiatives, such as allocated seating and fast-track security, for boosting its popularity with more affluent, older fliers and business passengers.

Profits increased to £478 million in the year up to 30 September, up from £317 million - while easyJet kept investors happy by revealing plans to dish out a £175 million windfall to shareholders through a special dividend payment.

Chief executive Carolyn McCall said the company was benefiting from its advantage in the European short-haul market as rivals have reduced their operations during recent years.

Easyjet said allocated seating has also proved popular with wealthier retired people, who had been deterred by the boarding experience.

Their targeting of business travellers increased its share of the market by four per cent, with 10 million corporate fliers a year.

The profits haul comes in the face of Britain's hottest heatwave for years and sees easyJet shrug off turbulence hitting rivals such as Ryanair, which recently issued two profit warnings in as many months due to fare pressure, increased competition and Europe's continued economic problems.

But easyJet signalled a tougher start to its new financial year as it faces tough comparisons from a year earlier when pent-up demand after the Olympics produced increased business.

Bookings for the first half are so far flat on a year earlier, according to the firm.

Travel restrictions in Egypt will also impact on first-half trading, while easyJet said airport disruption was another challenge as strikes and a recent power outage at Gatwick has already seen 152 more flights cancelled year-on-year in October alone.

Costs will be another sticking point for the carrier, which is pencilling in a rise of up to £50 million for its annual fuel bill, as well as higher airport charges and maintenance expenses.

EasyJet still expects to increase passenger numbers over the year ahead, with seats flown set to rise by around 3.5 per cent in the first half and 5 per cent in the full year - up from a 3.3 per cent increase in the year to September 30.

The number of those flown in the past year lifted 4 per cent to a new milestone of 60.8 million.

Shares lifted 3 per cent after the results and details of the special dividend payout.

Additional reporting by Press Association

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Lois Pryce... Life Without a Postcode. Lois lives on a boat with her husband.. Registering to vote in the election has prooved to be very difficult without a fixed residential post code. (David Sandison)
newsHow living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Sport
Steven Fletcher scores the second goal for Scotland
cricketBut they have to bounce back to beat Gibraltar in Euro 2016 qualifier
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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 General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing