EasyJet ups forecast on higher traffic

EASYJET’S shares, soared yesterday as the budget airline boosted its 2010 profit expectations after reporting strong September traffic figures.

The airline’s senior management, including newly appointed chief executive Carolyn McCall, have increased pre-tax profit expectations for the full year, despite recent problems with the airline’s punctuality, disruption from the Icelandic volcano and an ongoing bitter dispute with founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou.

Anticipations are that profits before tax for the year to the end of September 2010 will come in slightly above £150m. The airline had previously estimated its profit would come in between £100m to £150m.

McCall said yesterday that easyJet’s commercial performance remained robust and consequently total revenue per seat is expected to rise by six per cent during the period.

“This robust financial performance in a tough trading environment is a tribute to easyJet’s unique blend of the lowest prices to the most convenient airports,” said McCall.

The airline expects that the financial impact over the period it took from the closure of European airspace during the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano will come down from £65m to £60m.

Last month easyJet flew 4.7m passengers, marking an eight per cent rise on September last year when 4.4m people used its services.

The rise is in conjunction with annual rising passenger numbers, which the airline said grew by 7.9 per cent to 48.7m over the last 12 months.

The airline also filled almost 90 per cent of available seats on its flights, marking a rise from 2009 when it filled 88.1 per cent of its flights. The good news caused its shares to rise 12 per cent to 433.30p – a two-month high.