easyJet First Half Loss Widens
UK airline easyJet reported a bigger loss in its first half as the British pound dropped in value.
The airline’s headline net loss for the six months to end March was GBP£172 million (USD$222.4 million), from an £18 million loss in the prior first half period. The headline loss before tax was £212 million.
The loss was partly due to a currency impact of £82 million, and the timing of Easter which had a £45 million impact.
Revenue came in at £1.83 billion from £1.77 billion last year. Headline costs excluding fuel rose to £1.58 billion, from £1.33 billion. Fuel costs were broadly similar to 1H16 at £459 million as hedging cancelled out fuel price increases.
easyJet carried 33.8 million passengers in the half, up 9 percent from the prior year period. RPK (revenue passenger km) traffic was up 9.1 percent on an ASM (available seat km) capacity increase of 8.9 percent. Load factor rose half a percentage point to 90.2 percent.
As part of its fleet development, easyJet has converted orders for 30 Airbus A320neo aircraft to the 235 seat A321neo. The larger aircraft will allow the airline to add capacity in slot constrained airports, the carrier said.
easyJet has 100 A320neos and 30 A321neos on order, in addition to 27 A320ceos still to be delivered.
Current A320s in its fleet are being retrofitted with an additional row of seats, increasing capacity to 186 from 180. New A320s will also have the increased capacity.
“Looking ahead, we are seeing an improving revenue per seat trend as well as the continued reduction of competitor capacity growth. Cost performance for the full year will continue to be strong,” chief executive Carolyn McCall said.