EasyJet sees boom in business travellers as allocated seating pays off

Guy Bentley
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Budget airline EasyJet has seen its number of business travellers jump by 44 per cent.

In the year to 31 March 2014 EasyJet carried 12m business passengers for the first time.

The FTSE 100 company attributed its rising popularity among business travellers to the quality of customer service and its system of seating allocation.

EasyJet passengers now have the option to pay to choose their seats or have them allocated automatically, free of charge.

Speaking to Radio 4's Today programme, EasyJet chief executive Carolyn McCall said "allocated seating has been the single most popular thing we have ever done for our customers".

The airline also reported a pre-tax loss of £53m for the six months to 31 March. The results are slightly better than the company's expectations released in its March trading update, where it slashed its expected pre-tax losses from between £70m and £90m to between £55m and £65m.

The results also beat Numis analysts' expectations of a £58m loss. EasyJet enjoyed a rise in total revenue of 6.3 per cent to £1.7bn, while total revenue per seat climbed 1.5 per cent year-on-year.

"The results reflect our on-going progress against our strategic priorities, and demonstrate the structural advantage EasyJet has against both legacy and low cost competition in the European short haul market", said McCall. The company launched new bases in Italy and Germany bringing its total to 24.