EasyJet quarterly revenues climb to £897m

Budget airline cautions the timing of Easter would affect first-half results

Low cost airline easyJet posted a 7.7 per cent rise in quarterly revenues, continuing the strong growth which helped it outperform rival carrier Ryanair last year, though it cautioned the timing of Easter would affect its first-half.

EasyJet, Europe's second-largest budget airline by passenger numbers after Ryanair, this morning posted first quarter revenues of £897 million (€1.09 billion), helped by a 4.2 per cent rise in the number of passengers carried.

The Luton, England-based firm noted that this year Easter falls in April, outside its fiscal first-half which runs to the end of March and would shave off around £25 million of additional revenue in that period.

For its fiscal first half, easyJet said it expected to report a loss of between £70 million and £90 million, more than the £61 million loss it made in the same period last year.

“EasyJet has made a good start to the year. The performance in the quarter demonstrates our continued focus on cost, progress against our strategic priorities and easyJet’s structural advantage in the European short-haul market,” chief executive Carolyn McCall said in a statement.

EasyJet outshone Ryanair last year, with a 51 per cent rise in full-year profit and plans for a special dividend payout contrasting against the Irish company’s poor run. It cut its annual profit target twice in two months.

EasyJet has focused on upping its appeal to business customers in recent years and in the first quarter, the company grew business passengers by 8.9 per cent, exceeding its overall passenger growth rate.

Ryanair, is in the midst of trying to improve its image and broaden its appeal to business travelers after conceding that its “abrupt culture” might be impacting its business. It is due to report its third quarter results on February 3.

Shares in easyJet, which have almost doubled since this time last year, closed at 1,743 pence yesterday, valuing the FTSE 100 company at about £6.8 billion.