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EasyJet says fare fall won't stem growth as McCall exit looms
[LONDON] EasyJet Plc vowed to push ahead with an aggressive expansion strategy despite falling fares and the impact of the Brexit vote after Chief Executive Officer Carolyn McCall leaves later this year to take charge of broadcaster ITV Plc.
Europe's second-biggest low-cost carrier plans to carry on adding capacity to squeeze rivals even as a market-wide oversupply of seats hurts prices, it said Thursday after Ms McCall revealed that annual earnings will be higher than estimated by analysts following bumper figures in the early summer.
Ms McCall said she expects that Ryanair Holdings Plc, Europe's top discounter, and Wizz Air Holdings Plc, the No 1 in Eastern Europe, will also continue to splurge on capacity. At the same time unprofitable Alitalia SpA and Air Berlin Plc are set to retreat further, she predicted, while UK rivals Flybe Group Plc and Monarch Airlines Ltd are curbing growth and Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA is focusing on long-haul flights.
Chairman John Barton has already begun the search for a new CEO, according to Ms McCall, who won't start at ITV until January. No deadline has been set for finding the next chief, and Mr Luton, England-based EasyJet plans to undertake a "rigorous" evaluation of internal and external candidates, she said.