EasyJet cuts profit forecast after ash cloud chaos

EasyJet has cut its expectations for full-year profit after the mayhem caused by the volcanic ash crisis, though it posted a smaller-than-expected first-half as fuel prices fell.

The airline, the biggest carrier at Gatwick airport, said its pre-tax loss narrowed by a third to £78.7m on revenues 13 per cent higher at £1.17m for the six months to the end of March.

In January, EasyJet said it expected to post a first-half pretax loss of between £80m and £95m

The company said in a statement: "Estimated full year pretax profit would have been in the range of £175-£200m at current exchange rates and fuel prices, prior to the recent volcanic ash related disruption.

"This disruption has caused additional cost and lost contribution estimated at between £50m-£75m.

"Therefore, the company has revised its profit expectations for the year to a range of £100m-£150m at current exchange rates and fuel prices."

EasyJet shares have risen a fifth this year, valuing the business at around £1.9bn.