EasyJet soars as its winter losses are sliced in half

 
Marion Dakers
EASYJET has almost halved its losses over the six months to April, helped by dreary weather in Britain sending holidaymakers on winter breaks abroad.

The firm’s pre-tax loss of £61m was slightly ahead of forecasts in a traditionally quiet period for airlines.

Revenues rose 9.3 per cent to £1.6bn, while revenues per seat rose 5.8 per cent to £53.39.

Chief executive Carolyn McCall told reporters the low-cost carrier has the chance to take more market share from more established airlines in the coming years.

“What we have seen is the legacy carriers can’t make money in their current set up on short haul in Europe,” she said. “It’s a few years away, there’s a lot of restructuring and consolidation to come but the potential for a low cost carrier like EasyJet is significant.”

The firm had around a 30 per cent share on the routes it operated in the half-year period, McCall said, up from 28 per cent.

EasyJet said it is in the final stages of sizing up a possible plane order after 2017, a move that major shareholder Stelios Haji-Ioannou has opposed.

McCall said if the firm decides to upgrade its planes, it will take the economic case to shareholders and ensure a deal “will be in the best interests of all of them”.

As part of EasyJet’s plan to appeal to business passengers, it announced yesterday that its flexible fares will include fast-track passes through airport security.

For the rest of the year, EasyJet said it expects to improve returns and profitability. The upbeat outlook helped send the FTSE 100 firm’s shares up 8.32 per cent yesterday.