News Analysis: The only way is up for Easyjet

The award seems to have come with perfect timing because as the world witnesses a global downturn in air travel easyJet expects to reveal healthy profits when it posts results on Monday.

The year has not been without its moments and Haji-Ioannou has had his attention distracted by other events. But with a strong team to back him, such as chief executive Raymond Webster and finance director Chris Walton, easyJet and its chairman appear to be set for more good news.

Perhaps the most controversial part of easyJets’ year was its reaction to the appalling attacks in New York and Washington on 11 September.

While the big carriers appeared to court disaster with mass redundancies and appeals to governments across the world, the budget airlines responded gamefully cutting prices and marketing aggressively to persuade passengers to fly again.

And by all accounts the effort, with easyJet at the forefront, succeeded. Indeed easyJets chiefs went so far as to actively campaign to block state aid for other national carriers.

EasyJet also capitalised elsewhere. British Airways, faced with drastically falling demand gave up slots out of Gatwick, which were quickly snapped up by the easyJet management who managed to bag more than 10,000 Gatwick slots as well as taking over the Heathrow to Belfast run.

Indeed so buoyant did things appear for easyJet that it confidently claimed that in September it broke its own record by revealing it had taken 28% more bookings than the same month the year before – a figure that works out at 150,000 more passengers.

In addition, easyJet added new planes to its fleet, a sure sign of confidence as it also haggles over flying out of Paris Orly.

For the year ending 30 September 2000, easyJet turned over Pounds 264m and made a pretax profit of Pounds 22.1m. Analysts and shareholders will be watching to see if easyJet performs as well or better.


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