Fuel costs hit first half results
easyJet has posted a pre-tax loss of £129.8m in the first half of its 2008-2009 financial year, more than double the previous year's result.
The budget carrier blamed the slump on £90.6m spent on fuel costs which he said would lessen as hedging adjusts to lower oil prices.
Europe's second largest low cost airline said last year's figures were boosted by Easter traffic which fell in the first half.
Reported pre-tax loss stood at £116.5m, including £9.1m from the acquisition of GB Airways in 2008 and a £13.3m profit on the sale of two aircraft in 2009.
Andy Harrison, the carrier's ceo, said he remained optimistic and predicted a full-year profit.
"While we remain cautious about the consumer economy, at current fuel prices and exchange rates, easyJet expects to be profitable for the full year," he said.
"easyJet is financially strong, with cash and money market deposits as at March 31 2009 exceeding £1bn, and has good and well-established market positions.
Mr Harrison said he remained "confident in easyJet's future prospects."
easyJet's first half revenues increased 15.8% to £1,032.8m from £892.2m year-on-year.
The airline said ancillary charges such as those for speedy boarding passes and extra baggage had boosted revenues.
Passenger numbers increased 2.9% to 19.4 million and load factor improved to 82.9% from 81.2% last year.
easyJet said it expected to boost capacity by 2% in the second half as corporate travellers opt for low costs flights.
"In this difficult trading environment easyJet's network remains well positioned against the competition and is clearly benefiting as a flight to value by business passengers is offsetting some of the weakness in discretionary leisure travel," the airline said.