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easyJet Reports 14% Passenger Gain in May, Load Factor Slips

European budget airline easyJet reported a 13.8% gain in passenger numbers in May compared with a year earlier, but the company said its load factor had declined.

The company said Thursday it carried 3,345,465 passengers in May, compared with 2,939,361 in the previous May. The load factor slipped to 83.6% compared with 83.9% a year ago.

For the 12 months ending in May, revenue was up 15.2% to 1.7 billion pounds ($3.45 billion).

The company said it intended to promote lower fares through the summer, aiming to keep load factors high. "For the second half we anticipate total revenue per seat to decline in the region of 5% to 10% versus last year," easyJet said in a trading update.

"For the year to September 2007 our guidance remains unchanged, and we expect to increase pretax profits by 40% to 50% compared with the previous year," the statement added.