EasyJet prepares to outstrip hopes

Budget airline easyJet today said its profits were set to beat expectations after its new strategy, which includes appealing to more business passengers, started to bear fruit.

The airline said it has now sold 75 per cent of its seats for the key summer season and expects full-year pre-tax profits of between

£200m and £230m. Analysts had been expecting an average of £179m.

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Revenues in the three months to the end of June increased 23 per cent to £935m after it increased its number of flights and ancillary

revenues, which include charges to check in bags, rose 17 per cent per seat to £11.65.

The airline said the number of passengers flying on business in-creased 20 per cent in the quarter.

It follows the launch of its new flexible fare targeted at business travellers that gives passengers the option of changing their flight up to two hours before the scheduled departure time as it looks to diversify its offer away from the budget end of the tourist market.

The airline’s strategy to target business passengers announced in November included flying to more city routes. The move will help to increase demand for flights throughout the year.

The number of passengers increased 17.3 per cent, partly because the same period in the previous year suffered flight cancellations as a result of the Icelandic ash cloud, which caused flights to be cancelled but passenger numbers were still up 8.8 per cent once the effect of the eruption was stripped out.

Total revenues per seat increased 5.2 per cent to £56.02.