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EasyJet First-Quarter Revenue Up, Sees Year Profits Up 40-50%

British low-cost airline EasyJet said on Wednesday its first-quarter revenue rose 15% on a year ago, with passengers up 10%, and sees another sharp rise in pretax profits this year.

"Our focus on controllable costs and growth in ancillary revenues mean that for the full year we anticipate an improvement in profit before tax of between 40% and 50%," easyJet said in a statement.

For the year ended last September the company reported a 56% rise in pretax profit to 129 million pounds ($252 million).

The group said on Wednesday it had launched five new routes in the first quarter of the current year, including a service between Glasgow and London Gatwick three times a day. "In spite of the fall in fuel prices from the summer highs, our average fuel cost, after hedging, for this first half will be approximately $650 per metric tonne, 7% higher year-on-year," it said.

EasyJet's total revenue per seat grew 4%, with revenues from passengers up 2.3% and other revenues up 22% year-on-year.

Total first-quarter group revenue was 366 million pounds ($716 million).

EasyJet said its load factor - a measure of how many seats it sold as a percentage of capacity - was up 0.7 percentage points at 74.9% in January.

The airline said passenger numbers in January rose 11.1%.