Mild winter sees easyJet losses shrink

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Low-cost airline easyJet posted smaller winter losses as the benefit of benign weather offset a further jump in fuel costs.

The Luton-based operator, which is Europe’s fourth-biggest short-haul carrier with a share of around 8 per cent, said losses during the six months to March 31 were £112m, an improvement of £41m on a year ago.

While trading conditions remain “extremely difficult”, easyJet said a mild winter and minimal external industrial action meant the number of cancellations and overnight delays were down 90 per cent on a year earlier, saving £15m.

The number of passengers flown by the airline rose 5.4 per cent to 25.2 million in the half year as it benefited from rivals cutting capacity.

The price of jet fuel was 21 per cent higher in the half year, adding £87m to costs, and is expected to show a further sharp rise over the second half.

The airline said its ‘Europe by easyJet’ marketing campaign, improvements to its website and efforts to attract more business passengers helped revenues per seat increase 11.9 per cent on a year earlier.