Shares in easyJet (LON:EZJ) have rallied more than five percent in London this morning, as the lowcost carrier revealed that it had seen ‘encouraging’ trends in the first quarter of the new financial year, amid the collapse of rivals Monarch, Air Berlin and Alitalia. The comments came as the airline updated investors on its annual performance, revealing a drop in profit and a rise in revenues.
As of 08:43 GMT, easyJet’s share price had jumped 5.48 percent to 1,348.00p, outperforming the benchmark FTSE 100 index which has slipped marginally into the red and is currently 0.05 percent worse off at 7,386.12 points. The group’s shares have added more than 26 percent to their value over the past year, and are up by some 34 percent in the year-to-date.
easyJet announced in a statement this morning that its total revenue had climbed 8.1 percent to £5.05 billion in the financial year ended September 30, with revenue per seat broadly flat year on year. The airline carried 80.2 million passengers, up 9.7 percent, and marking a record for the company.
The group’s headline profit before tax meanwhile dipped 17.3 percent to £408 million, pressured by an adverse headline currency impact of £101 million. easyJet proposed a dividend of 40.9p per share, in line with its payout policy of 50 percent of headline profit after tax.
“easyJet delivered a robust performance during a difficult year for the aviation industry,” the airline’s outgoing chief executive Carolyn McCall commented in the statement. She will be replaced by Johan Lundgren, a former executive at TUI Group (LON:TUI), who will be joining the board as a director and CEO on December 1.
Going forward, easyJet said that it was planning to grow capacity by around six percent for the 2018 financial year. The number excludes Air Berlin capacity, with the FTSE 100 group having agreed to acquire part of the insolvent German carrier’s operations at Berlin Tegel.
easyJet also noted that its forward bookings were ahead of last year at 88 percent for the first quarter and 26 percent for the second quarter.
“Revenue trends in the first quarter have been encouraging, primarily as a result of some capacity leaving the market,” easyJet pointed out.