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Monday, 19 November, 2001, 13:21 GMT
Go's profits take off
Go jet in-flight
Go is winning customers from more traditional carriers
Go, the budget airline spun off by British Airways, has shrugged off the gloom surrounding much of the aviation industry, reporting a big rise in profits and passenger numbers.

The airline saw pre-tax profits rise 51% to 16.9m for the six months to 30 September.

And passenger numbers at the airline jumped 41% to more than two million.

"Recent developments in the airline industry have presented opportunities for the low-cost sector," said chief executive Barbara Cassani.

Go also announced that three-quarters of its ticket sales are now done through the internet.

Budget airlines benefit

While most of the world's airlines have struggled to cut jobs and routes since 11 September, the low-cost airlines have continued to grow.

Go's chief executive Barbara Cassani
Barbara Cassani: says Go is still looking to grow
Go - along with budget airlines Ryanair and Easyjet - cut fares in the wakes of the terror attacks to maintain passenger numbers, and the tactic seems to be working.

"Our immediate action in reducing fares has maintained load factors across the network," Ms Cassani said.

In the past month both Ryanair and Easyjet have also announced big profit increases as they continue to take custom away from the traditional carriers.

Expanding routes

The discount airlines are now trying to move in on routes vacated by other airlines.

Go added flights on the London/Belfast route when its former owner British Airways pulled out.

It has also started a new service between Stansted and Newcastle.

"Our strategy remains clear: we will continue to grow by adding new routes and bases where we can open up low-cost flying to new customers," said Ms Cassani.

Airport operator upbeat

There was more good news for the aviation sector as the airport operator TBI also announced a healthy rise in profits.

The company - which operates Luton, Belfast and Cardiff airports - saw pre-tax profits jump 50% to 21.4m in the first half of the year.

TBI said the rise had been helped by the increase of its stake in Luton airport earlier this year.

But it also said it benefited from the continued strength of the discount airlines after passenger numbers were up at its three UK airports.

"TBI is well positioned to take advantage of the changing trends in the aviation industry and I believe that the outlook for our business is encouraging," said the company's chief executive Keith Brooks.

See also:

05 Nov 01 | Business
Ryanair profits soar
21 Sep 01 | Business
Budget airlines cut fares
14 Jun 01 | Business
BA sells Go for 100m
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