EasyJet to Expand Fleet as Recovery From Paris Attacks Seen
EasyJet will buy 36 planes by 2021, saying it's confident passenger demand will continue unabated by coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris.
Pretax profit in the fiscal year ended 30 September 30 rose 18 per cent to a record £686 million, Luton, England-based Easyjet said Tuesday in a statement. Earnings were at about the midpoint of a forecast range outlined in early September and missed the £689 million average of 21 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The airline said it expects passenger numbers to grow seven per cent next year.
The travel and tourism industry is under pressure after the downing of a Metrojet passenger jet over Egypt two weeks ago. Terrorists caused the crash, which killed 224 people, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday. Still, travelers have already proved undaunted by previous attacks in London and the US, Easyjet Chief Executive Officer Carolyn McCall said.
"People will want to continue to live their lives, and traveling is part of that,” McCall said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. She said the airline expects a short-term effect but that in the medium to long term, “things will get back to normal.”
The company said it’s exercising purchase rights for 36 new planes, including replacing 10 older aircraft as well as adding 26 additional Airbus A320 planes to boost capacity in Europe.
EasyJet and larger competitor Ryanair gained customers in mid-2015 as the UK's wettest August in a century encouraged Britons to seek sunnier places elsewhere in Europe for vacation. That sales boost helped offset disruptions since the start of the year, including a French air-traffic controllers strike in April, two fires at EasyJet’s Italian base at Rome Fiumicino airport, and terrorist attacks in Souse, Tunisia, in July and Paris in January.
Europe's second-biggest discount airline, Easyjet has seen record profits for six straight years. Last year its passenger numbers rose six per cent, and 91.5 per cent of available seats were filled.
News by Bloomberg, edited by Hospitality Ireland