Easyjet lifts profit forecast and pays special dividend

Easyjet plane
Image caption Easyjet said its commercial performance had been "robust"

Low-cost airline Easyjet has increased its estimate for full-year profits and announced a special dividend for shareholders.

The carrier said its performance had been "robust", helped by an increase in business travellers.

It now expects annual profits of £240m-£250m, up from a previous forecast of £200m-£230m made in July.

Easyjet shares jumped 7% after it said it would add a special dividend of 35p to its 9p a share annual dividend.

The latest profit guidance means the airline's profits could be up to 40% higher than the £179m analysts were forecasting earlier this year.

"Easyjet's commercial performance continues to be robust across the network, with particular strength on city routes used by business and short-break leisure travellers," the airline said.

Earlier this year, Easyjet altered its strategy to try to attract more business passengers, and in July it said that had led to a 20% increase in business travellers on its flights.

Despite the strong performance, Easyjet warned that its fuel bill for next year was expected to be £220m higher than in 2011.

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