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Wednesday, 8 May, 2002, 07:56 GMT 08:56 UK
Go sees profits take off
Barbara Cassani, chief executive of Go
Barbara Cassani said these were "tremendous results"
The low-cost airline, Go, has announced a 300% leap in profits for the year to March.

The airline - which is currently in talks about being taken over by rival Easyjet - made 17m, compared with 4.2m in the previous 12 months.

Go also said passenger numbers had increased by more than half.

Chief executive Barbara Cassani said: "These are tremendous results for Go.

"This strong performance, continuing month over month, is reflected in April's traffic figures with a 79% increase in passengers year-on-year.

"I am proud of everyone at Go for building such a successful business."

Takeover talks 'advanced'

Go was set up by British Airways, but sold off in June last year.

The venture capital group, 3i, owns 43% of the company. The remainder is divided between Go managers and city institutions.

Go made no further comment about the state of its talks with Easyjet.

But the chief executive of Easyjet, Ray Webster, said discussions were at a very advanced stage and an announcement was likely "within a matter of days".

Kieran Daly, editor of Air Transport Intelligence, told the BBC's World Business Report Easyjet is likely to sign the deal sooner rather than later as both Go and Easyjet are on the brink of major aircraft orders.

"If they do invest in these large numbers of airplanes... they are going to get substantially more expensive and then it will be a very hard deal to do - I think then you'd end up with something like a merger of equals," he said.

"Almost certainly Go isn't going to get any cheaper," he added.

Easyjet expansion

Easyjet reported a profit of 1m in the six months to the end of March, compared with a loss of 10m during the same period last year.

The airline said its passenger numbers increased by more than a third.

And Easyjet demonstrated its desire to expand by agreeing an option to buy British Airways' German subsidiary Deutsche BA.

Kieran Daly, editor of Air Transport Intelligence
"Easyjet will probably find the [Go] deal easier to swallow now rather than later"
Ray Webster, Easyjet chief executive
"A good company is not going to be a bargain"
See also:

08 May 02 | Business
KLM floats bleak future
08 May 02 | Business
Easyjet snaps up BA's German arm
03 May 02 | Business
Easyjet in talks to buy rival Go
24 Apr 02 | Business
Go founder named high flyer
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