Easyjet growth helped by European demand
EasyJet has said 54pc of passengers came from outside the UK in the three months through December, the most in the discount carrier’s 15-year history, helping to sustain growth through the global slump.
Passenger numbers rose 9pc to 11 million, beating internal forecasts, as the UK company built up hubs in Madrid, Milan and Paris to supplement its two main bases in London.
Revenue surged almost 11pc to £608m (€699m) and Chief Executive Officer Andy Harrison predicted an improvement in earnings for the full year ending September 30.
The airline, which had net income of £71.2m in fiscal 2009, said passenger growth was achieved with “virtually no deterioration” in yields, a measure of pricing.
“This is an encouraging performance and means EasyJet is on track to deliver a substantial profit improvement in 2010,” Gert Zonneveld, an analyst at Panmure Gordon in London, said in a note to clients. He retained his “buy” rating on the stock.
Europe’s second-biggest discount airline rose as much as 4.6pc to 381.6 pence and was trading at 378.5 pence as of 8:51am in London. The stock has gained 7.1pc this year, valuing the Luton-based company at £1.61bn.
The carrier, together with Ryanair has boosted traffic while network airlines struggled in the recession.
EasyJet’s passenger total increased 3.4pc to 46.1 million in 2009, compared with a 3.9pc decline to 32.3 million at British Airways.