easyJet profits hit by high fuel prices

Budget airline easyJet has reported a 45% fall in full year profits ending September due to higher fuel costs. Europe’s second largest budget carrier expects more “difficult” times ahead and warns of a cautious outlook.

Its net income in the 12 months ending September 30 dropped 45% to £83.2m from £152m for the same period last year despite a rise of 31% in sales and 17% rise in passenger numbers.

Andy Harrison, easyJet chief executive, says the company expects that it will remain profitable in the year to September 2009 as winter bookings are already ahead of last year.

He adds that it will focus on cost-cutting, savings and offering value to its business and leisure customers.

Earlier this week, easyJet joined Virgin Atlantic to make a joint bid worth £2.5bn for Gatwick airport. It is understood that the airline operators are negotiating with their financial advisors to form a consortium.

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