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15 November 2011 |Angeline Albert
The rise in business travellers using low
cost airline easyJet saw its profits soar for the past six months.
The number of business customers using the
airline increased by almost one million to 9.5 million, according to the
company’s interim results for the six months ended 30 September, published
today. The company’s underlying profit before tax rose by £60 million to £248
million, from an underlying profit of 188 million in 2010.
The company’s goal is to
make an extra £100 million from business passengers. Part of this effort has
led to the signing of more agreements with travel management companies. Today,
easyJet announced it had signed a deal with Amadeus, a global
distribution systems (GDS) supplier to help it capture a bigger share of the
managed corporate travel market.
Tilstone, CEO of Institute of Travel & Meetings, which represents more
than 1,000 travel buyers and suppliers in the UK and Ireland, told SM: “I had the choice of flying any
airline this morning but I flew today as an easyJet business traveller to
Amsterdam, because I had the best schedule and price from the airline.
Purchasers want the most pertinent schedule at the best price and easyJet has
adapted its business model to cater to this. The airline has engaged with GDS
suppliers and will continue to do well in the business travel market
particularly as companies feel more pressure to squeeze savings from corporate
The strong financial performance
was in spite of a £100 million increase in the airline’s fuel costs. In
response to the rise the airline said it does not plan to purchase more
aircraft for the next two years to add to its 204-strong fleet. Purchasers have
planned for a further 35 new craft to be delivered during the next three years,
but this will be offset by 24 planned exits from the fleet. “The high cost of
jet fuel and uncertain consumer demand across Europe means easyJet is taking a
cautious approach to capacity,” the report said.
At current fuel and exchange
rates, easyJet’s fuel bill is expected to increase by £220 million in 2012/13
compared with 2011/12.