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Friday, 5 July, 2002, 16:04 GMT 17:04 UK
Budget airlines see demand soar
Easyjet aeroplane
Easyjet says passenger targets are "spot-on"
The low-cost airlines Easyjet and Go recorded another big increase in passenger numbers last month, as the growth of the budget carrier sector showed no signs of slowing.

Easyjet saw passenger numbers rise by 51.5% compared to the same time last year, while Go posted an even bigger rise of 71.8%.

Shares in Easyjet also took off in London after the company said European regulators had cleared its planned takeover of Go.

The shares closed 59 pence, or almost 19%, higher at 370p on Friday.

Clear skies

Easyjet said it was optimistic that British competition authorities would clear the 374m Go deal, which will see it overtake Ryanair to become Europe's biggest budget carrier.

"It's just the UK now that is outstanding and we remain very confident that is not going to be an issue," Easyjet chief executive Ray Webster told the Reuters news agency.

Easyjet said it carried nearly 960,000 passenger in June, a 6% rise on the previous month.

"We are looking very positive. June is spot-on and looking forward, July and August are looking spot-on," Mr Webster said.

Go said passenger numbers reached 550,000 in June, helped by its recent expansion into East Midlands airport.

Both airlines managed to improve the percentage of seats sold, with Easyjet recording a load factor of 86.6% and Go 84.3%.

On Thursday Ryanair said it carried 1.25 million people last month, a 34% increase on a year ago.

The success of the budget airlines is in marked contrast to the performance of British Airways.

On Wednesday, BA said passenger traffic during June was 13.1% down on the same month in 2001.

See also:

03 Jul 02 | Business
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05 May 02 | Business
03 May 02 | Business
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