easyJet chief says LCC has no interest in Flybe, as it announces strong results

posted on 20th November 2018 by Justin Burns
easyJet chief says LCC has no interest in Flybe, as it announces strong results

easyJet chief executive officer Johan Lundgren told BBC Radio this morning that it did not have any interest in struggling regional airline Flybe “at the moment” just as the low-cost carrier (LCC) revealed its results for the year ending 30 September 2018.

Flybe said last week it was in talks with potential buyers as it was struggling to cope with higher fuel costs, weaker demand and falling British pound.

Lundgren said the airline was “always always looking for strategic opportunities if they arise” but there was nothing to report currently.

easyJet today reported its figures for the year ending 30 September 2018 and said it flew a record number of passengers flown at 88.5 million up year-on-year (YOY) by 10.2 per cent with a record load factor of 92.9 per cent (2017 92.6 per cent).

The LCC said this was driven by continued focus on customer offer and easyJet’s primary airports strategy including expansion into Berlin Tegel and gaining seven new number one airport positions.

Revenue was £5.8 billion, up YOY by 16.8 per cent and revenue per seat grew 6.4 per cent to £61.94 (8.3 per cent growth ex-Tegel). Profit before tax for the year was £445 million, up YOY by £60 million (2017: £385 million).

The acquisition of part of Air Berlin’s operations at Berlin Tegel was completed on 15 December for €40 million. Now over 20 easyJet aircraft fly in Tegel.

easyJet said it has an agreement with Airbus for 17 aircraft firm orders, 18 deferrals and 25 purchase options over the next five years, providing additional delivery flexibility.

The LCC said it has continued to prepare for Brexit, operating via airlines in the UK, Switzerland and Austria to enable ongoing flying in Europe, and is close to achieving majority EEA (excluding UK) ownership – currently at 47 per cent.

Looking ahead, it said capacity growth in the first half is forecast at circa 15 per cent and at circa 10 per cent for the full year with solid demand in forward bookings of 50 per cent for the first half, with yields ahead of loads while bookings for next summer are “promising” at this very early stage, slightly ahead of summer 2018.

Lundgren said: “easyJet has delivered a great performance during the year, growing headline profit before tax by 41 per cent, once again flying a record number of passengers at our highest ever annual load factor.

“The integration of new operations at Tegel has also progressed well and our brand consideration in Berlin has grown strongly.  Our financial success and increasing customer loyalty demonstrate the resilience of our operations, the underlying strength of our business and our unrivalled customer experience.

“Our strategy continues to ensure we are well positioned for the future. We have made considerable progress on our new initiatives in holidays, business and loyalty, which will enable us to grow profitably. While disruption continues to be a major challenge for the industry, we are investing in resilience to help to mitigate the impact on our customers.

“Forward bookings are solid, with 50% of seats sold in the first half, in line with the prior year. We are confident in our positioning for the future and are focused on driving future returns, positive free cash flow over the longer term and maximising our headline profit per seat as we continue to deliver value for our customers and shareholders.”