LONDON (Dow Jones)--easyJet said today that it anticipates a pre-tax loss of GBP45 million for the first half of the year, in line with full year guidance and compares to a pre-tax loss, reported under IFRS, of GBP22 million for the first half of last year.
Speaking to shareholdes at the annual general meeting the chairman, Sir Colin Chandler, said unit revenue (total revenue per seat flown) rose by 1.8% compared to the same period last year, helped by double digit growth in ancillary revenue per seat, and continued successful growth especially from young bases in Berlin, Dortmund and Basel.
"Unit costs excluding fuel fell by 5% in the period. However, rising fuel prices caused total unit costs to rise by 3% in the quarter", Chandler said.
"Our full year guidance remains unchanged", he said.
In the current financial year the company expects to deliver capacity growth, measured by available seats, of 15%.
"Our strong focus on controllable costs will continue and should result in a 3-5% reduction in cost per seat, before fuel. We anticipate a slight reduction in total revenue per seat for the year", he said.
Lower unit passenger revenues are expected to be partly offset by ancillary revenues, which will improve with double digit percentage growth supported by a series of new initiatives. Overall, the company plans to achieve mid to high single-digit percentage profit growth in the current financial year.
"For the first half of the year, we expect a 50% increase in unit fuel costs. This price impact will result in an additional charge of roughly GBP55 million. In addition, the timing of Easter, falling in April, will have a negative impact on our first half compared with last year. Our good performance on reducing costs and increasing ancillary revenues has partially mitigated the increase in fuel", Chandler said.
"The continuing reduction in unit costs, excluding fuel, is evidence of this commitment to date and gives me confidence that shareholders will see an improvement in the company's profitability over the years ahead", he said.