EasyJet is bucking a grim environment for budget airlines, stating on Friday that its profits are likely to be at the upper end of the range it had previously signalled.
Despite a £100m currency hit in the wake of the Brexit referendum, profits for the year ending in September are expected to be between £405m and £410m, it said, after posting record passenger numbers over the summer.
That is still a fall from the £495m recorded in 2016, and down from £686m in 2015, but it forms a bright contrast to the collapse of Monarch Airlines and a fiasco over flight cancellations by Ryanair.
Over the three months to the end of September, easyJet flew 24.1m passengers, with capacity reaching a high of 95.6 per cent. The headline cost per seat, a particularly important metric for low-cost airlines, is expected to grow by around 1 per cent, excluding fuel and at constant currency. However, including fuel, this figure is expected to fall by 4.4 per cent. Overall, the company’s fuel bill is expected to drop by £230m-£235m compared with the previous financial year.
Net cash levels remain high, in advance of a year of “significant investment in new aircraft”, EasyJet said.
Carolyn McCall, chief executive of EasyJet, said:
The market continues to be challenging and easyJet has had to absorb a significant currency impact of £100m in 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.
EasyJet will publish its full-year results and outlook for 2018 on 21 November.