The boss of easyJet has voiced “cautious confidence” for 2012 after reporting a 16.7% rise in quarterly revenue to £763 million.
Passenger numbers in the three months to December – the airline’s first financial quarter – rose by 8.1% to 12.9 million with a load factor of 87.6%.
The number of business travellers carried increased by 200,000 in the quarter to 2.3 million over the same period in 2010.
Total revenue per seat was up by 6.5% to £40.29 “as weaker competitors retrenched”.
Ancillary revenues showed a “strong performance” with the first bag charge increasing by 68p to £4.70 per seat. Fees and charges went up by £1.24 to £5.88 per seat “following firm pricing action taken to offset increased regulatory and administrative costs” in the second quarter of last year.
The budget airline’s on-time performance was up by 23 percentage points to 88% and customer satisfaction rose by 11 percentage points to 85%.
The carrier expects to recover most of a £100 million increase in its first half fuel bill and contain winter losses to between £140 million and £160 million compared to the £153 million loss reported in the same period in the previous year.
Around 70% of seats are booked for the first half of the year while less than 15% have been sold for the second half.
Chief executive Carolyn McCall said: “EasyJet has made a strong start to the year. This is due to firm control of costs, the strength of easyJet’s network, tight capacity discipline and pricing actions taken in the second half of last financial year.
“The good performance in the quarter has meant we are cautiously confident in our outlook for the business.
“Although the economic environment remains weak, easyJet’s affordable fares and our focus on making it easy for our customers combined with the actions that management is taking ensures that easyJet is well positioned to continue to succeed.”
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