British low-cost airline easyJet said its first-half winter performance would improve from last year, helped by robust travel demand and a slight easing of competition in the European short-haul flying market.
EasyJet on Tuesday said it now expected first-half revenue per seat to increase by mid to high single digits, upgrading a previous forecast for it to rise by low to mid single digits.
Reporting on the quieter winter period when fewer people travel, the airline, which tends to make all of its profit in the summer, said its first-half headline pretax loss would narrow from last year when it made a loss of 275 million pounds.
The outlook for short-haul European airlines has brightened since earlier in January when easyJet’s Irish rival Ryanair upgraded its profit forecast on strong demand for flying during the holiday season.
EasyJet Chief Executive Johan Lundgren said in a statement that the company had made a strong start to the year.
“The improvement in our revenue per seat has been driven by our self-help revenue initiatives combined with robust customer demand and a lower capacity growth market,” he said.
The profit outlook for short-haul airlines like easyJet and Ryanair has been helped by subdued capacity growth in the market.
That has been driven by airline discipline, plus the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX, as well as competitor Norwegian shrinking its short-haul business, and the withdrawal of travel company Thomas Cook which failed last year.