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easyJet Halves First-Half Loss

No-frills airline easyJet said it expects faster growth in the second half as it reported a 58% fall in first half pretax losses to 17 million pounds, ($33.9 million) from 40 million in the previous same period.

The group said growth measured in available seats would accelerate during the summer months, leading to growth in the full year to September 2007 of about 15%.

The Luton-based budget carrier said it reduced costs excluding fuel by 2.1%, or 57 pence per seat, in the six months to March and said it anticipated further progress in the second half.

For the full year, easyJet said it anticipated unit fuel costs to be slightly down year-on-year.

"Our guidance remains unchanged, for the full year to September 2007 we expect pre-tax profit growth of 40% to 50%," it said in its interim results statement.

Total revenue grew by 14 pct to 719 million pounds, while passenger numbers rose 11% to 16.4 million pounds.

Unit passenger revenues increased by 0.8% or 26 pence per seat to 31.70 pounds per seat, while ancillary revenues improved by 18% or 58 pence per seat to 3.81 pounds per seat, with partner revenues from insurance and car hire driving the growth.