EasyJet expects winter losses to be in line with previous guidance despite increased cancellations due to bad weather, according to a trading statement issued this morning.
The budget carrier gave a revised outlook for the six months to March 31, saving losses should come in between £60-£65 million against previous guidance of between £50-£75 million given in January.
Revenue per seat for the half year is expected to be up by 8.5%, with capacity up by 3.3% against 3.5% previously projected.
The rise in sales was partially driven by stronger than anticipated late bookings in the run up to Easter which was earlier this year than in 2012.
But adverse weather resulted in a higher than anticipated level of cancellations.
The weakening of sterling against the euro, US dollar and Swiss franc will have had a £30 million to £35 million adverse impact in the first half of the financial year, with an additional £5 million adverse impact from changes in the fuel price.
The airline said it continues to make “good progress” on its evaluation of the next generation of short-haul aircraft.
It has decided to exercise options for three Airbus A320s while it completes the fleet evaluation process.
Chief executive Carolyn McCall said: “EasyJet’s performance over the first half reflects the continuing successful delivery of our strategy of low fares, coupled with friendly service on Europe’s leading network.
“First half losses have been halved year on year through our disciplined approach to capacity deployment and a focus on cost management over winter.
“We have also benefited from rival airlines taking winter capacity out of the market, the earlier timing of Easter compared to last year and the poor weather across the UK and northern Europe which stimulated strong bookings in the last few weeks of the first half of the financial year.”
Additionally, the airline said March passenger numbers grew by 5.3% to 4.8 million over the same month last year. The load factor grew by 1.7 percentage points to 90.5%.
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