January 26, 2016 / 7:17 AM / 2 years ago

EasyJet says demand for travel lower after Paris attacks

Aircraft of British carrier easyJet parked on the apron at Larnaca airport, Cyprus November 7, 2015. REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou

LONDON (Reuters) - British low-cost airline easyJet (EZJ.L) said demand for travel was dampened by security fears in the final weeks of 2015 but a recovery in bookings and ticket prices put it on track to meet annual forecasts.

Attacks in November that killed 130 people in Paris, one of the world’s most visited cities, further slowed demand for leisure travel after a plane crash over Egypt in October had halted flights from Britain to a popular winter sun destination.

easyJet, Europe’s second-largest budget airline by passengers after Ryanair (RYA.I), reported a 3.7 percent fall in revenue per seat on a constant currency basis in the quarter ended Dec. 31. It put 2 percent of that decline down to the fall-off in demand in the wake of the Paris attacks.

Bookings for its second quarter had since showed a marked improvement in revenue per seat compared with November and December, it said, adding that it was also seeing better than planned results in reducing its running costs.

For the full financial year to Sept. 30, easyJet said that it expected to meet market forecasts for pretax profit of 738 million pounds, helped by a lower fuel bill.

Rival Ryanair has talked of a price war in Europe as airlines raise capacity and compete against each other in a low oil price environment, but there is limited direct competition between the pair.

easyJet already has slots at major airports, an area where Ryanair is playing catch-up having historically focussed on minor airports.

Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Paul Sandle and Keith Weir

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