July 25, 2012 / 6:39 AM / 5 years ago

EasyJet sales rise as consumers flee poor weather

<p>An EasyJet aircraft takes off from Stansted Airport in Essex, southern England March 19, 2009. REUTERS/Stephen Hird</p>

LONDON (Reuters) - British budget airline easyJet (EZJ.L) posted a 10.5 percent rise in third-quarter revenues, boosted by strong demand for beach holidays due to the poor weather in northern Europe..

Europe’s second-largest low-cost carrier on Wednesday said revenues rose to 1.033 billion pounds ($1.60 billion) in the three months to the end of June, and issued full-year profit guidance ahead of the analyst average of 272 million pounds.

“The continued strong operational and financial performance of the business combined with the fall in the price of jet fuel means that profit before tax for the year ending 30 September 2012 is anticipated to be in the range of 280 million pounds to 300 million pounds, at current fuel and exchange rates, assuming no significant disruption,” chief executive Carolyn McCall said.

The Luton, southern England-based airline, said it had seen strong demand on beach routes during the extended period of poor weather in northern Europe.

EasyJet, the largest airline at London’s Gatwick airport, said seats flown grew by 7.5 percent to 17.9 million during the period, while passengers carried increased by 10.9 percent to 16 million.

EasyJet’s load factor - a measure of how full its planes were - rose 2.8 percentage points to 89.1 percent.

It said ancillary fees - including charges for baggage - rose by 1.20 pounds to 11.81 pounds per seat.

EasyJet last month said it planned to cut flights to and from Madrid by 20 percent and would no longer base crew and aircraft there from next winter after the location delivered the lowest returns of all its bases.

Shares in easyJet, which have risen more than a third in 2012 closed at 531 pence on Tuesday, valuing the company at around 2.14 billion pounds.

($1 = 0.6441 British pounds)

Reporting by Rhys Jones; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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