EasyJet says some headwinds offset by demand


British low-cost airline easyJet guided to annual profit growth of up to 14 percent, and said some of the headwinds it had flagged two months ago had been offset by higher demand on beach holiday routes.

The guidance from easyJet, Europe's second-biggest budget carrier, comes after it said in May that competitive pressure on ticket prices meant revenue per seat would be lower in this period, while air traffic control strikes in France would hit profits.

That outlook compared unfavorably with larger competitor Ryanair, which said in May that average fares would remain broadly flat in the key summer months.

Passengers queue up at the EasyJet counter at Berlin's Schoenefeld airport

easyJet said on Wednesday that its revenue per seat performance in its fiscal third quarter was better than it had forecast in May, helped by higher demand for beach routes across Europe and successful revenue management initiatives.

"Our third quarter performance means that for the full year easyJet will grow revenue, profits and dividends," Chief Executive Carolyn McCall said in a statement.

For the 12 months to the end of September, easyJet guided to annual profit growth of between 7 percent and 14 percent, putting it on track at the mid-point to meet analyst forecasts for a 10 percent rise.

easyJet said that it expected full-year pretax profit in the range of 620 million pounds ($967.70 million) and 660 million pounds, compared with a company-supplied consensus forecast of 638 million pounds from a poll of 24 analysts.

However, the airline did warn of uncertainty in the current macro and operational environment given the situation in Greece and recent events in North Africa, plus the impact of a fire at Fiumicino airport in Rome and various threats of industrial action.