EasyJet said its full-year profit would beat market expectations on Wednesday, giving the airline a fresh boost in the wake of winning shareholder approval for the expansion of its fleet.
EasyJet today posted a 10.5 per cent jump in third quarter profits to £1.1bn, attributed to increased capacity and improvement in revenue per seat.
The budget airline forecast pre-tax profits for the full year to be between £450m and £480m, compared to £317m last year.
Passenger numbers grew 2.6 percent to 16.4 million and seat capacity by 3.6 percent.
"EasyJet has delivered a strong performance in the third quarter in a benign capacity environment for easyJet," said chief executive Carolyn McCall.
"The strong performance demonstrates further progress against the easyJet strategy and the commitment to deliver returns and profitable growth for shareholders," she added.
Costs excluding fuel at constant currency are performing in line with management expectations and are anticipated to grow, as previously guided, by around 4% per seat in the second half of the year assuming no significant disruption.
The group said it had now booked 73 per cent of its seats available in the second half of its financial year. Revenue per seat - averaging £61.44 - had been stronger than it had forecast, it added.
The positive factors driving the better than expected performance included cold weather in the spring, which swelled advance bookings for flights to sunny destinations later in the year.
EasyJet said it was also aided by the introduction of allocated seating, which had made its flights more attractive to some travellers who might not have booked with it otherwise. Some rivals had also cut capacity, it added.
Looking ahead to the group's numbers for its final quarter, due later this year, it has been argued that the baking heat could stunt demand for flights on beach routes.
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