EasyJet sees Easter timing impacting its half yearly figuresThursday 23 January 2014 08.06
Low cost airline EasyJet posted a 7.7% 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, posted first quarter revenues of £897m, helped by a 4.2% rise in the number of passengers.
The Luton-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 £25m of additional revenue in that period.
For its fiscal first half, easyJet said it expected to report a loss of between £70-90m, more than the £61m loss it made the same time 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% 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.
The airline 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%, exceeding its overall passenger growth rate.
Ryanair is in the midst of trying to improve its image and broaden its appeal to business travellers after conceding that its "abrupt culture" might be impacting its business. It is due to report its third quarter results on February 3.