EasyJet takes £18m hit from snow

EasyJet took an £18m hit from last month's big freeze, though the pain was eased by rising first-quarter revenues as more travellers opted to fly with the low-cost carrier.

The budget airline said that revenues for the final three months of 2010 rose 7.5 per cent to £654m pounds as passenger numbers rose 8.8 per cent to £11.9m in the quarter year-on-year.

EasyJet was hit as runways around Europe closed for several days in the run up to Christmas as northern Europe's big freeze hit the travel plans of thousands.

It was also impacted by an air traffic controllers (ATC) strike in Spain.

"In the quarter disruption from ATC strike action and severe weather cost £6m and £18m respectively and in addition led to lost contribution of £7m," easyJet Chief Executive Carolyn McCall said.

The airline was hit by £98m of costs related to various disruptions last year.

The low-cost carrier, which earlier this month confirmed an order for 15 Airbus A320 aircraft, said it made market share gains at London's Gatwick, Paris Orly and Charles de Gaulle and Geneva airports.