High fuel costs cause easyJet profits to fall by £92 million

Higher fuel costs have led to a £92 million drop in profits for easyJet despite a 17.3% increase in passenger numbers.

The airline’s preliminary results for the year ending September 30 2008 (pdf) showed its profits before tax were £110 million, as opposed to £202 million in the previous year.

In the same period easyJet’s fuel costs rose by 66.6%, costing it £708.7 million for 2008, while it carried nearly 43.7 million passsengers, nearly half of whom originated from outside the UK.

EasyJet chief executive Andy Harrison descirbed the results as a “good trading performance” and added the airline’s winter bookings for the first quarter of 2009 are “slightly ahead” of the previous year.

However, he warned of tough times ahead, adding: “We recognise that economic conditions will be very difficult and easyJet is planning accordingly, which means focusing on offering customers great value, driving down controllable costs and preserving cash.”

Harrison added despite growing the airline’s fleet to 165 aircraft over the last year – the acquisition of GB Airways in January saw it take on 16 additional aircraft alone – easyJet would remain flexible in its future growth plans.

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