EasyJet Passenger Numbers Up 8.3 Percent

December 7, 2005

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British low-cost airline easyJet's passenger numbers in November rose 8.3 percent from a year ago to 2.3 million, the company said on Wednesday.

easyJet said its load factor was 80.2 percent, down 1 percentage point from the same month last year.

"In the month that we celebrated our 10th anniversary, we carried over 30 million passengers in a 12 month period for the first time, reflecting the demand for low-cost air travel and our ability to meet it," Chief Executive Andrew Harrison, who stepped into the top job last week, said in a statement.

EasyJet and larger rival Ryanair are preparing for a tougher winter after fare increases and solid demand helped them offset record fuel prices during the summer.

Ryanair said on Monday its November passenger numbers rose 25 percent, and its load factor was 81 percent in the month.

Iceland's FL Group raised its stake in easyJet to 16.2 percent in September, reviving speculation it may be planning a takeover bid for the airline.

However, easyJet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou said his and his family's 41 percent stake in the carrier was not for sale.

(Reuters)