EasyJet back on the ascent as its traffic over the summer bounces

Marion Dakers
SHARES in budget airline EasyJet bounced yesterday as it posted a 3.9 per cent jump in passengers during August to 6.1m.

The budget carrier, whose shares had been slammed by a shock profit warning from rival Ryanair on Wednesday, said its planes were 1.1 percentage points more full compared to a year ago.

In the last 12 months, EasyJet traffic is up 4.1 per cent on the previous year. The company made no comment on current trading, but analysts took this to mean the firm’s recent growth trajectory remains on course.

“We believe that EasyJet’s operational model leaves it well placed for further good progress,” said Wyn Ellis at Numis in a note to investors.

However, he added: “Given that the UK has had its sunniest summer for several years and the forecast is for a balmy autumn, it would not be surprising if consumer demand for air travel showed some weakness in the autumn.”

Smaller carrier Aer Lingus also reported a boost in summer traffic yesterday, with passenger numbers up 0.9 per cent to 1.13m in the month.

The airline, which earlier this year fended off a takeover bid by Ryanair, said short-haul traffic had dwindled 0.8 per cent, but this was offset by a 17.5 per cent jump on its transatlantic routes.

The pair followed a strong summer for British Airways owner IAG, which earlier in the week revealed a 9.4 per cent rise in traffic, helped by the purchase of Spanish budget carrier Vueling.

Shares in EasyJet closed up 1.7 per cent at 1,236p, recovering some of the ground it lost in the wake of Wednesday’s sector-wide rout.

Meanwhile Ryanair’s shares rose just 0.5 per cent to €6.03.