British budget airline EasyJet upgraded its first-half outlook by 25% today, due to tight cost control and the popularity of its allocated seating programme.
EasyJet said today that it expected to post a pre-tax loss of between £55-65m for the six months to March 31, an improvement on previous guidance of £70-90m.
The group, which like its rivals traditionally runs at a loss during its winter first half when fewer customers fly, reported a loss of £61m for the same time last year.
The upgrade was also helped by a benign winter which meant less weather-related disruption, EasyJet said.
EasyJet has over the last year stolen a march on bigger budget rival Ryanair by introducing measures such as allocated seating and allowing passengers to change their flights in a bid to appeal to business travellers.
Shares in EasyJet have risen 62% over the last year.
"This performance demonstrates our continued focus on costand progress against all our strategic priorities," EasyJet's chief executive Carolyn McCall said in a statement.
Revenue per seat in the six month period is expected to rise by 1.5%, EasyJet said, higher than a forecast given in January of "very slightly up", on a boost from allocated seating and other initiatives.
The forecast improvement to EasyJet's first-half performance comes despite it guiding to a hit of up to £8m from additional unit fuel costs for this first-half compared to the same time last year.