Easyjet profits down 30% after Brexit hit pound

Easyjet has ambitions to expand in France

Easyjet’s profits are down 30% over the last year mostly due to the declining pound, the low-cost airline has revealed.

The company attributed the slump to the poor pound to dollar rate following Brexit, which increased the its fuel costs so that in the 12 months ending September 30 this year it made a profit of ‘only’ €343million.

This comes in a year in which rival Ryanair has also faced difficulties, having to cancel 20,000 flights this winter season due to problems with holiday rotas.

Even so, easyJet shrugged off the poor result, with chief executive Carolyn McCall saying “the easyJet model is resilient and durable”.

It carried a record number of passengers over the year, up 9.7% to more than 80 million, and rates of unsold seats were also improved on the previous year.

Industry experts note that the company’s strategy shows a tendency to move away from the pure low-cost model, offering a higher standard of service and appealing increasingly to business passengers, who now represent almost a quarter of users in France.

EasyJet has been pushing for a bigger market share in France, its second largest market after the UK and is increasing its capacity here by 7% in 2017-2018 after a 10% increase in the previous year. This includes a fifth A320 plane at its Nice base and creating a new base at Bordeaux, where three new planes are due next year.

Meanwhile Ryanair, still Europe’s most popular and profitable airline, has retained its focus on bargain basement, no-frills flights. While it is increasingly facing competition from new competitors, it recently announced that its profits after tax grew 11% in the six months to September 30.

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