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Aer Lingus and Ryanair end day up as Easyjet stock jumps by over 19pc

AVIATION

Published 23/07/2011 | 05:00

Shares in Ryanair and Aer Lingus received a boost yesterday after Easyjet stock soared by more than 19pc as the airline raised its profit forecast for the year and told shareholders they could be in line for an even bigger inaugural dividend than previously thought.

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Investors keenly awaiting Ryanair's first-quarter results on Monday sent the carrier's shares as much as 6pc higher in early trading, while shares in Aer Lingus climbed 3pc before midday.

Releasing third-quarter results yesterday, Easyjet said that total revenue in the period to the end of June jumped 23.2pc to £935m (€1.06bn), while the number of passengers carried rose 8.8pc to 14.4 million, excluding the impact of last year's volcanic eruption.

Easyjet chief executive Carolyn McCall -- who joined the company last year without any experience in the aviation sector -- has focused on growing Easyjet's share of the business travel market.

To do that, she's had to focus on improving the airline's on-time statistics and offer flexible fares.



Profit

In the last quarter, more than 80pc of Easyjet's flights were on time compared to just 57pc a year ago.

Ms McCall said that 75pc of Easyjet's summer seats were now sold and, that at current fuel and exchange rates, she expected the airline to post a pre-tax profit of between £200m and £230m for the financial year that ends in September. That compares to analyst expectations for a full-year figure of about £179m.

The bumper figures for the quarter were achieved against a backdrop of weak consumer spending and consumer confidence in the UK.

The airline also said that it had experienced robust demand in the current quarter.

Shares in Easyjet closed up 17.7pc at £3.68. Shares in Ryanair ended the session 4.8pc higher at €3.46, while Aer Lingus was up 2.2pc at 71c.

Irish Independent

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