EasyJet full-year profits up 28%
EasyJet, Europe's second-biggest discount airline, boosted full-year profit 28 per cent by adding more business travellers and said it will fly to Moscow from Manchester, England, next spring to deepen the corporate focus.
Pre-tax profit for the 12 months ended September 30 was £317 million (€394 million), versus £248 million a year earlier, Luton, England-based EasyJet said today in a statement.
Analysts had expected earnings of £314 million.
"EasyJet is a structural winner in the European short-haul market against both legacy and low-cost competition," chief executive officer Carolyn McCall said in the statement.
The carrier will increase its annual dividend to 21.5 pence a share from 10.5 pence, returning £85 million to investors.
Ms McCall has boosted frequencies on key routes while adding allocated seating, flexible tickets and selling seats through corporate agents to grab a bigger slice of the business market.
EasyJet was chosen by UK aviation authorities last month to operate flights to Russia, edging out Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic, and will serve Moscow twice daily from London Gatwick and four times a week from Manchester.
EasyJet's annual pre-tax profit has more than doubled from £154 million since Ms McCall joined in July 2010.
Fiscal-year sales rose almost 12 per cent to £3.85 billion, with the carrier transporting 65.9 million people, it said today.
The strategy of seeking to attract more business travellers was instrumental in EasyJet's victory in the Moscow application and also aided its selection by Italian authorities to end Alitalia's monopoly on services from Milan Linate to Rome Fiumicino a day later, Ms McCall has said.
Fourth-quarter demand was boosted by a surge in flights from the UK to beach holiday destinations such as Malaga in Spain and Faro, Portugal, following the 2012 Olympic Games in London, which caused Britons to defer their travel plans.