EasyJet shares fall on worst half-year loss
Shares in Easyjet slumped almost 7pc yesterday as it reported its worst-ever first-half loss, with the off-key performance blighted by weak sterling.
The airline said that its pre-tax loss in the six months to the end of March was £236m (€275m), compared to the £18m loss it made in the first six months of its last financial year.
It said that the fact that Easter this year fell into the second half of EasyJet's financial year knocked £45m off first-half profits, while there was also a negative net currency impact of £82m. The full-year currency impact is likely to be about £100m, it said.
EasyJet said that it had actually carried a record number of passengers in the first six months of its financial year, with the figure of 33.8 million up 9pc on the corresponding period in 2016. Its load factor, or percentage of available seats sold, was 90.2pc.
Total revenue in the latest period also rose, by 3.2pc to £1.82bn (€2.1bn).
But the carrier, headed by CEO Carolyn McCall, said that revenue-per-seat in the first half fell 4.9pc to £48.80. It blamed the Easter timing as well as a glut of capacity in Europe.
Shares in Ryanair, which reports full-year results in less than two weeks, were barely changed yesterday.
EasyJet has also agreed to buy 30 A321 Neo aircraft from Airbus. The larger jets will enable it to grow in slot-constrained airports and manage costs, it said.
The carrier also said that forward bookings are ahead compared to last year.