easyJet reports FY2008-09 half-year loss
easyJet has reported a loss before tax of £116.5 million in its results for the first half of its 2008-09 fiscal year (FY) which ended on 31 March 2009, despite a 15.8% year-on-year increase in revenue for the period.
Total revenue amounted to £1,032.8 million compared with £892.2 million in the first half of FY2007-08. The airline's underlying loss before tax, which excludes £9.1 million of costs associated with the integration of GB Airways in 2008 and a £13.3 million profit on the sale of two aircraft in 2009, was £129.8 million, compared with £48.4 million for the same period in the previous fiscal year. The reported loss before tax was therefore £116.5 million, up 102.6% from £57.5 million in the respective period last year.
Total revenue per seat was up 14.9% (7.6% at constant currency) aided by improved ancillary revenue performance and a 4.8% sector length increase associated with the acquisition of GB Airways. The increase in pre-tax loss was driven by unit fuel cost increase equivalent to £90.6 million (£3.87 per seat), movement of Easter into the second half and £13.7 million reduction in interest receivable.
Passenger numbers for the six months were up 2.9% to 19.4 million and load factor improved 1.7pp to 82.9%.
Commenting on the results, easyJet chief executive Andy Harrison observed, "The 7.6% growth in our constant currency revenue per seat is a strong result in the current economic climate and underlines the strength of our network and our competitive position. Overall capacity in the European short-haul market shrank by 5.6%, however, easyJet gained market share in the period.
"The reduction in our H1 profit margin was driven by an increase in our unit fuel costs, which will unwind as our fuel hedging policies adjust to lower market prices. The movement of Easter into the second half of the year also depressed our first-half margins.
"While we remain cautious about the consumer economy, at current fuel prices and exchange rates, easyJet expects to be profitable for the full year," Harrisoon concluded.