[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 November 2006, 11:20 GMT
Easyjet expands as profits soar
Easyjet plane taking off
Easyjet plans to increase capacity by 15% in the coming year
Easyjet has announced plans to expand its fleet as it unveiled a 56% rise in annual profits on the back of growing passenger numbers and new routes.

The low-cost carrier made a pre-tax profit of 129m ($245m) in the year to the end of September - despite a big increase in fuel costs.

Passenger numbers for the year were up by 11.5% to 33 million people.

The airline said it was buying 52 new Airbus A319 jets, and had secured the option to buy up to 75 Airbus planes.

Easyjet said this meant that it now had 104 aircraft on firm order with Airbus, with a list price of more than $4bn, and also held purchase rights over a further 123 aircraft.

The new A319 aircraft are scheduled to be delivered between 2008 and 2010.

Fuel costs

Easyjet's current fleet has 122 planes, flying 282 routes on a network of 74 airports and 21 countries.

Chief executive Andy Harrison stressed that the modernity of Easyjet's fleet - with an average age of 2.2 years - meant it produced about 30% less emissions per passenger kilometre than other traditional airlines flying similar routes.

The Airbus orders are further proof of Easyjet's ambitions
Richard Hunter, Hargreaves Lansdown stockbrokers

"We welcome the Stern Review, which says that aviation accounts for just 1.6% of greenhouse gas emissions, and we have long campaigned to bring aviation into the European Emissions Trading System as soon as possible," he said.

Easyjet said that its fuel bill had increased by 33% over the past year - the equivalent to 2.48 for each seat on a flight.

Security alerts in August - when it had to cancel 469 flights - cost it about 4m.

The airline also said that it planned to expand capacity by about 15% next year.

Richard Hunter of Hargreaves Lansdown stockbrokers said Easyjet's results had been well-received.

"It appears that the spectre of soaring fuel prices has been contained, with the summer disruptions and even BA's entry into the low-cost space having limited impact," he said.

"Aggressive cost reduction, increasing passenger numbers and improvements in ancillary revenues per seat have all contributed to the near 60% rise in profits.

"The Airbus orders are further proof of Easyjet's ambitions."




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Easyjet's boss gives his reaction to the profit figures



SEE ALSO
Security alert cost Easyjet 4m
07 Sep 06 |  Business
BA says terror alert cost it 40m
05 Sep 06 |  Business
Easyjet charges for second bags
01 Sep 06 |  Beds/Bucks/Herts
BA 'mulls Heathrow compensation'
15 Aug 06 |  Business
Terror curbs spook budget airlines
15 Aug 06 |  Business
Easyjet ups profit outlook by 50%
07 Jul 06 |  Business

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific