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easyJet first-half loss widens, says pricing pressures easing
[LONDON] British budget airline easyJet posted a wider first-half loss, hit by the weak pound and the late timing of Easter this year, but said pricing pressures within the industry were starting to stabilise.
The airline, which has been battling fierce competition from rivals and over-capacity in Europe, said strong cost control and the easing pressure on some prices meant it still expected to meet full-year targets.
Headline loss before tax came in at £212 million compared to an average analyst estimate of a pretax loss of £195.75 million, according to Thomson Reuters estimates.
The numbers included an estimated £45 million hit from Easter falling into the second-half, and a negative net currency impact of £82 million. Total loss before tax after non-headline items was £236 million.
Total revenue was up 3.2 per cent to £1.8 billion, in-line with expectations, with revenue per seat of £48.80.
Despite the large headline loss, Chief Executive Carolyn McCall said that bookings for the summer were ahead of last year, pricing pressures in the sector were easing and cost-control had been good.
"Looking ahead, we are seeing an improving revenue per seat trend as well as the continued reduction of competitor capacity growth. Cost performance for the full year will continue to be strong," she said.
"Our expectations for the full year are in line with current consensus market expectations."
The airline said that it remained on track to secure a European Air Operator Certificate by the summer, to ensure it can maintain its flying rights within the EU once Britain leaves.
It also said it would convert an existing order of 30 A320 NEO aircraft into A321 NEO under its existing agreement with Airbus, which it said would aid its ability to manage costs.