EasyJet profits soar on higher fares – with new planes ordered

Britain’s biggest budget airline, easyJet, has reported record summer profits thanks to sharply higher fares and “ancillary revenue”.

The results were published a day after the carrier cancelled 100 flights from its home airport, Luton, due to a car-park fire that affected all airlines using the hub.

EasyJet’s average basic one-way fare during July, August and September 2023 was 9 per cent higher than a year earlier, rising by £5 to £69. Ancillary revenue, including charges for baggage, priority boarding and assigned seats, was up £3 to £27.

Passenger numbers rose 8 per cent compared with summer 2022, with easyJet filling 92 per cent of its seats – meaning only 15 empty spaces on the average Airbus A320 flight.

Profits before tax for the full year ending 30 September 2023 are around £450m.

A significant proportion – £120m – is from the airline’s package holiday operation, easyJet Holidays, which “continues to outperform”.

The airline said: “Business momentum now allows the setting of new, ambitious, medium-term targets, a proposed new aircraft order and resumption of dividends.”

In the medium term, easyJet hopes to make a £1bn profit – through reducing winter losses, larger average aircraft size and growing easyJet holidays

The airline has 157 new aircraft orders for Airbus jets for delivery between 2029 and 2034 as well as 100 options. It has an existing order book of 158 aircraft for delivery before then.

The airline says: “Delivery slots for narrow body aircraft with circa 200 seats are very limited until at least 2029 from both Airbus and Boeing.”

The new planes will be between 13 and 30 per cent more efficient, depending on which aircraft they replace.

The list price of the new planes is $20bn (£16.2bn) but easyJet said: “The aggregate actual price for the aircraft would be substantially lower because of certain price concessions granted by Airbus.”

The airline’s chief executive, Johan Lundgren, said: “We have delivered a record summer with strong demand for easyJet’s flights and holidays with customers choosing us for our network, value and service.

“This performance has demonstrated that our strategy is achieving results and so today we have set out an ambitious roadmap to serve more customers and deliver attractive shareholder returns, underpinned by a continued focus on costs and operational excellence.”

Going into the winter, easyJet says fares and capacity are both higher than a year ago.

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