EasyJet says strikes at rivals to help revenue

LONDON (Reuters) – British budget airline easyJet (EZJ.L) on Tuesday said that full-year profit would be towards the upper end of expectations, with revenue boosted by pilot strikes at rivals British Airways (ICAG.L) and Ryanair (RYA.I).

British Airways pilots went on strike for two days last month, grounding thousands of flights. BA-owner IAG said that the strikes would take 137 million euros ($150.47 million) off this year’s earnings, with overall recurring operating profit 215 million euros lower than last year.

Ryanair (RYA.I) flights ran as scheduled during industrial action by pilots in early September, and easyJet said that the strikes had helped its revenue per seat to increase by 0.8% in the second half, compared to previous expectations of a slight fall.

“As a result of our self-help initiatives and the increased demand due to disruption at British Airways and Ryanair, we anticipate achieving headline profit before tax for the full year 2019 of between 420 million pounds and 430 million pounds, in the upper half of our previous guidance range,” easyJet Chief Executive Johan Lundgren said in a statement.

The airline had previously said that full-year profit before tax for the 12 months until Sept. 30 would be between 400 million and 440 million pounds ($541.16 million).

The airline said it was performing in line with market expectations, despite challenging market conditions.

Travel firm Thomas Cook (TCG.L) collapsed last month, with the firm unable to make enough money to service its debts and convince banks to back a rescue plan in the face of changing customer habits and intense competition from rapidly growing airlines such as easyJet and Ryanair.

EasyJet on Tuesday said that expected capacity growth in 2020 would be at the lower end of its historic range.

It added that scheduled year-on-year capacity growth for the first quarter was 2%, with bookings for the quarter in line with last year.

Source – Reuters