April 7, 2008 / 6:19 AM / 12 years ago

EasyJet says March passenger traffic up

A new EasyJet Airbus A319 is moved out of a hall following a ceremony at the Airbus delivery facility in Finkenwerder near Hamburg April 26, 2007. REUTERS/Christian Charisius

LONDON (Reuters) - Budget airline easyJet (EZJ.L) said on Monday its total number of passengers climbed 20.5 percent year-on-year in March to just over 3.7 million, helped by the acquisition of GB Airways.

The company added that its load factor — a measure of how well it fills planes — was 87.4 percent, up from 84.4 percent last year.

EasyJet operated flights recorded a 13.7 percent rise, while the GB Airways figures fell 10.8 percent, it said. From next month the airline will stop reporting the two numbers separately.

It could not immediately be reached for further comment.

Shares in the firm, down nearly 40 percent this year, were up 2.5 percent at 384 pence by 8:09 a.m., valuing it at 1.6 billion pounds.

EasyJet issued a profit warning last month, citing higher fuel costs driven upwards by the price of oil.

Reporting by John Bowker; Editing by Erica Billingham and Sue Thomas

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