EasyJet profits defy economic squeeze

EasyJet’s pre-tax profit has jumped 60% in the past year despite the global economic downturn and a rise in the cost of air fuel.

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The low cost airline, which is also dogged by a dispute with its founder, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou over its growth strategy, made a profit of £248m on revenue up 16% to £3.5m.

It attributes the rise in profit for its year to the end of September to “firm control of costs”. Last year the airline unveiled a strategy to target business customers and expand in Europe.

Passenger numbers rose 11.8% to 54.5 million while total revenue per seat jumped 4.1% to £55.27.

Ancillary revenue has becoming increasingly important and the airline says that it has enjoyed a “strong performance” from this stream, up 12.9% to £11.52 per seat.

EasyJet is continuing to innovate and is now to trial allocated seating. Until now it has run an unreserved seating model with an option to buy speedy boarding.

Flights trialling allocated seating will see passengers given a seat when making their booking with an option to pay for a seat of their choosing.

EasyJet chief executive Carolyn McCall says: “Despite the headwinds of higher fuel costs and a weak and uncertain economic outlook, our focus on customers, robust operational performance, the strength of easyJet’s network combined with cost control and capital discipline means that easyJet is well placed to succeed.”

The airline launched a new pan-European marketing campaign in October, which falls outside the financial reporting period. The campaign includes a social media element that encourages its staff to be involved – read marketing director Peter Duffy’s explanation here.

Look out for an interview with Duffy in the issue of Marketing Week dated 24 November.

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