Easyjet increases its full-year profit forecast

Easyjet plane
Image caption Easyjet enjoyed a busy September

Shares in airline Easyjet have soared 10% after it said its full-year profits would be ahead of earlier expectations.

After stronger than predicted passenger numbers last month, it now expects its pre-tax profit for the 12 months to 30 September to surpass £150m.

This compares with its earlier guidance of between £100m and £150m.

Easyjet's shares were up 38.80 pence to 425.70p in early afternoon trading in London, making it the biggest riser on the FTSE 250 index.

Less ash costs

The airline said it had carried 4.8 million passengers in September, an increase of 8% on the same month in 2009, due to more people flying from the UK to Europe.

It said this meant that revenues per seat in the fourth quarter would rise by 6%.

Easyjet also downgraded the financial impact on the business of April's volcanic ash cloud across Europe from £65m to £60m.

However, it said it would have to pay £6m in compensation costs as a result of last month's air traffic controller strikes in France, Spain and Greece.

Airlines analyst Wyn Ellis of Numis Securities said Easyjet's trading update was encouraging.

However, he warned that the airline was still in dispute with its founder, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou.

Sir Stelios stood down as an Easyjet director earlier this year in a row over the airline's strategy and flight punctuality.

However, he and his family still own 38% of the business.

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