Despite flight disruption due to air traffic control strikes and rising fuel prices, easyJet managed a pre-tax profit of £445 million this year, £60 million more than last year. Helped by the collapse of Monarch earlier this year, the airline saw a 10% increase in its passenger numbers, which reached a record 88.5 million for the year to the end of September. More than 92% of its seats were sold.
“easyJet has delivered a great performance during the year, growing headline profit before tax by 41%, once again flying a record number of passengers at our highest ever annual load factor,” said Chief executive Johan Lundgren.
“The integration of new operations at Tegel has also progressed well and our brand consideration in Berlin has grown strongly. Our financial success and increasing customer loyalty demonstrate the resilience of our operations, the underlying strength of our business and our unrivalled customer experience,” he added.
Capacity for the year was up 4% in the UK, which was less than increases in most of its other major European markets, including France (up 5%), Italy (up 10%) and Switzerland, up 7%. In Germany, capacity was up 48% as a result of the Air Berlin acquisition.
For the future, easyJet said it saw a big opportunity to expand holiday sales as currently only half a million of the 20 million passengers who fly to its top 29 destinations book a hotel through the airline.
Recently, the group appointed its first chief executive of easyJet Holidays, Garry Wilson, and said it was planning to increase its profit by moving to a contribution rather than commission model with its hoteliers.
The airline also announced that Emirates will become a new partner to its Worldwide by easyJet service, making it easier for passengers to connect between flights at Gatwick. The partnership will initially apply to Emirates’ flights between Gatwick and Dubai, but easyJet said there were plans to extend it to more gateways and destinations.
Other airlines taking part in easyJet by Worldwide are Virgin Atlantic, Norwegian, WestJet and Singapore Airlines and its low cost subsidiary Scoot, which joined in September.