Easyjet confident after record profit

London - British no-frills airline Easyjet on Tuesday said it had ordered 36 new Airbus planes following record-high profits, presenting a confident outlook despite the Paris attacks and Egypt crash.

Speaking to reporters after the earnings update, Easyjet chief executive Carolyn McCall said that while air travel was always going to face a "cooling off" period following last month's Egypt plane crash, it also experiences a "quick resumption" from such events.

However traders were not so confident, pushing EasyJet's share price down 4.26% to 1 707 pence in midday deals.

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said the drop "could be due to the company omitting to say what effect" last month's plane crash in Egypt has had on recent trading.

Shares were also likely to be down on "concerns about the weekend events in Paris and a possible fallout from that in the lead-up to Christmas", he added.

President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday vowed vengeance as Moscow confirmed that a bomb attack brought down the Russian passenger jet over Egypt last month, killing all 224 people on board.

Easyjet preferred to concentrate on its record performance, announcing Tuesday that it had ordered 36 Airbus A320 jets worth $3.8bn at catalogue prices.

The carrier is purchasing 30 next-generation fuel-efficient A320neo aircraft, converting options announced in 2013, and has added another six firm orders for current-generation A320s.

The 36 popular single-aisle Airbus airplanes, which have 186 seats, are for delivery between 2018 and 2021.

The single aisle A320neo is designed to produce fuel savings of some 20% per seat compared with current generation jetliners and they have greater range.

"Due to our continued robust trading, high demand for Easyjet flights and the number of profitable opportunities we see in our markets, we are pleased to have secured an agreement with Airbus," the airline said in a statement.

Easyjet, which is based near London in Luton, added that it would take more options for 30 A320neo aircraft, taking its total number of options to 100.

Easyjet's vast Airbus order was unveiled alongside news of soaring annual profits.

Pre-tax profit leapt 18% to a record 686 million in the 12 months to September 30, buoyed by keen demand for city break holidays and business travel, and lower fuel costs.

"Our outlook for the longer term is positive," said McCall.

Net profits rallied 22% to 548 million in the year to the end of September, compared with its 2013/2014 financial year.

Passenger numbers rose 6% to 68.6 million and revenues swelled 3.5% to almost 4.7 billion.

"Our core leisure customer is part of a market that is growing strongly every year as people take more holidays and city breaks, complemented by a business travel market that prizes both flexibility and value," EasyJet said.

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