Easyjet benefits from Air France strike

<p>Easyjet has seen a £5 million increase in revenues during a strike by Air France pilots.</p>

Budget airline Easyjet has reported a rise in revenues in the wake of a strike by Air France pilots.

The company announced a £5 million boost during the period, allowing it to revise its pre-tax profit forecast from between £545 million and £570 million to in the region of £575 million and £580 million for the year to September 30th. Shares in Easyjet had also risen four per cent in early trading to reach 1425p.

Easyjet has enjoyed a strong performance in recent months with the company announcing in May that it had narrowed its half-year losses thanks to an increase in business passengers. The airline had seen an 8.5 per cent increase in business passengers, adding to an overall passenger growth of four per cent which allowed it to cut losses.

The Air France strike has seemed to help Easyjet with the French airline cancelling around half of its flights during the period. Pilots took industrial action in a dispute over employment contracts for over two weeks. It was finally brought to an end on September 28th but it had cost Air France hundreds of millions of euros and left a large proportion of its fleet grounded.

In stark contrast to Air France's woes, Easyjet has prospered, chief executive Carolyn McCall, said: "Easyjet has continued to execute its strategy. This has enabled Easyjet to deliver record profits for the fourth year in a row.

"This will also lead to our largest ever ordinary dividend payment as we are also proposing to increase the proportion of our profits after tax paid in dividends from 33 per cent to 40 per cent."

Easyjet also stated that it has improved its efficiency with an average plane now 90 per cent full and it has already sold over a quarter of its seats for the October to March period.

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