EasyJet soars after sky-high profit forecast

Shares in budget airline EasyJet have soared 14 per cent as it said it expected to make up to £230m profit for the year.

EasyJet said its revenues were up more than 23 per cent in the past three months compared with a year ago, to £935m, as 20 per cent more passengers travelled for business.

But the market cheered its £200-230m profit forecast as 24 per cent higher than the expected consensus of £174m, with three quarters of its summer seats already sold.

“Against the backdrop of high fuel prices and an uncertain economic environment, the strength of easyJet’s trading demonstrates it is well placed to succeed,” said EasyJet chief executive Carolyn McCall.

EasyJet endures a torrid relationship with its largest shareholder, easyGroup, which is still led by its founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou

McCall had to defend the company’s strategy earlier this month from Stelios’ public attack on its aircraft buying strategy and told the market it “rejected all of easyGroup's allegations of wrongdoing”.

This latest interim management statement should give the airline group greater firepower in such disputes.

EasyJet said its passenger levels were up 17.3 per cent while revenue per seat was up 5.2 per cent year-on-year to £56.02.

Its ancillary revenues – sales of related products alongside its airline seats – were up 17 per cent to £11.65 per seat.