EasyJet boosts its traffic in July as it flies more than five million passengers

LOW-COST airline easyJet, which is in dispute with founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, said yesterday it flew 7.7 per cent more passengers last month than the previous year.

During July, one of the busiest months for air travel, easyJet carried 5.02m passengers, an increase from the same period last year when it flew 4.66m customers.

EasyJet increased its load factor – a measure of how full its planes are – by 0.6 percentage points to 90.9 per cent, beating rivals Ryanair and British Airways, which reported load factors of 88 and 84 per cent respectively last month.

Last week easyJet said forward bookings were in line with the previous year and that it has already sold 64 per cent of its seats for the fourth quarter of this year.

“The company continues to expect to make a pre-tax profit for the year of between £100m and £150m at current exchange rates and fuel prices,” said easyJet last week.

The airline said the spring ash cloud cost it £65m and forced it to cancel 7,314 flights.

However, despite the positive trend in passenger traffic and upbeat outlook, easyJet has taken a recent hit from sluggish punctuality and low staff morale, further fuelling the bitter dispute with Stelios.

The airline and the founder have been locked in a war of words, with Stelios recently threatening easyJet that if it doesn’t improve punctuality, he will strip the airline of the right to use the “easy” brand.