EasyJet will cut capacity at Stansted by 12% this winter reflecting the high price of oil and the expected fall in traffic at an airport dominated by low-cost carriers.
Ryanair has already announced it will cut its fleet at Stansted this winter by almost one quarter. However, EasyJet will increase capacity overall by 4% to 6% – less than previously planned and below the airline’s historic growth rate, but remarkable given the cuts by other carriers.
EasyJet reported passenger numbers up 16% to 11.5 million in the three months to the end of June, lagging a rise in available seats of 18%. Yet the airline remains confident of achieving an annual profit of £110 million to £120 million for the year to September.
It is ancillary revenue, including the charge for checked-in bags introduced last October and increased in March, that will bring in much of those profits – earning EasyJet an average £7.45 per passenger, almost double the amount of a year ago.
Total revenue per passenger hit £55.74, making EasyJet’s average return fare £111.48, compared with £99.38 a year ago – a rise of about 11%.
EasyJet said it would retain the flexibility to scale back further while shifting capacity to Gatwick, France and Italy, which it described as performing strongly. It reported “particular strength on the former GB Airways sectors”.
The carrier acquired former British Airways-franchise carrier GB Airways last October.