European low-cost carrier easyJet has reported a passenger increase of 2.4% to 45.2m for its fiscal year ending September 2009 and a pre-tax profit of $73.6m.
The airline said that its load factor improved by 1.4 percentage points to 85.5% and it added that its forward bookings are 'broadly in line' with last year.
Commenting on the results, easyJet Ceo Andy Harrison said: ‘This is an extremely resilient performance making easyJet the best performing European airline based on our robust yields. We are one of the very few European airlines to make a profit during the last 12 recessionary months.
‘This is a tribute to the strength of our business model and the quality of our people and our network. We offer the best prices to the most convenient airports.
‘We see a tough winter ahead. We are focussing our efforts on further cost savings and efficiency improvements, together with optimising route profitability and aircraft allocation. We shall also benefit as our fuel hedges adjust to market prices. Putting all this together, at current fuel prices and exchange rates, we expect easyJet to make substantial profit improvement in 2010.’
Highlights of the results included total revenue per seat up 10.9% (4.1% at constant currency), driven by the strength of the easyJet network, competitor capacity reduction of around 6% and strong ancillary revenue performance and a 2.6% sector length increase.
The airline also reported that it has strengthened its position in European short-haul with market share gains in a number of markets including Paris, London Gatwick, Milan and Madrid and a plus-10% increase in slots at capacity constrained airports.
In overall terms, the airline reported an underlying pre-tax profit of ?43.7m pounds ($73.6m) on revenue up 12.9% to ?2.66bn for the year ending September. This corresponded to a 64.5% fall in full-year profits, which were impacted by rising fuel costs and lower interest income.