EasyJet sees record passenger numbers

An Easyjet plane.
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EasyJet says it saw record passenger numbers over the summer and predicts strong annual profits.

The airline said it carried 24.1 million passengers during the three months to the end of September, with 95.6% of seats filled.

EasyJet added that its profits for the financial year to 30 September were expected to be between £405m and £410m, at the upper end of estimates.

This was “a good performance” in a “rapidly evolving” market, it said.

Easyjet chief executive Carolyn McCall said: “EasyJet has finished the year with continued positive momentum, delivering both a strong final quarter and a strong second half.

“Passenger numbers and load factor in the final quarter set new records and the second half profit was over £100m higher than summer 2016.”

Ms McCall said the market continued to be “challenging”, while the airline had had to absorb “a significant currency impact” of £100m over the year.

“However, EasyJet continues to operate Europe’s strongest network and the current turmoil in the sector provides EasyJet with opportunities to capitalise on its strong customer proposition and grow and strengthen our positions in Europe’s leading airports still further.”

By contrast, EasyJet’s biggest rival, Ryanair, carried 37.1 million passengers during the same quarter and filled 97% of available seats.

Although Easyjet’s predicted profits are healthy compared with expected levels, they are still lower than the £495m it reported last year and the £686m recorded in 2015..

Last week, EasyJet said it was backing plans to develop commercial passenger aircraft powered by electric batteries instead of conventional aero engines.

It wants the proposed planes to fly passengers on its short-haul routes, possibly within 10-20 years.

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