Shares in easyJet have taken off after it reported a sharp increase in revenues as rival airlines struggled.
The low-cost carrier led the FTSE 100 risers’ board as it climbed 5% following the first trading update under new boss Johan Lundgren.
Easyjet said total revenue rose 14.4% to £1.14bn in the quarter ending 31 December, helped by lower growth from rivals as well as currency effects.
Passenger numbers were up by 1.4 million compared to the same period a year ago, to 18.8 million.
The airline, Europe’s number two budget operator, is operating in a market that has been re-shaped by the collapse of rival Monarch, and Air Berlin and Alitalia falling into administration.
Market leader Ryanair has also had difficulties, having to scrap flights due to pilot rostering issues.
The reduction in capacity has helped easyJet, supporting prices and load factors – a measure of how full aeroplanes are – on its flights, while it has also picked up some of Air Berlin’s operations.
Image: Johan Lundgren is easyJet’s new chief executive
Mr Lundgren told reporters: “Clearly there’s been less competitive pressure on certain routes.
“We’re always seeing the impact of what’s happening in the competitive landscape, and it has been to our advantage this time.”
Easyjet cited the difficulties of its rivals in its trading update, as contributing to a “positive trading environment”.
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Mr Lundgren has succeeded Carolyn McCall, who left to become chief executive of ITV.
In a separate announcement, easyJet confirmed the departure of chief commercial officer Peter Duffy – as first reported by Sky News – with many of his responsibilities assigned to the new role of chief data officer.