British low-cost carrier easyJet swung to a half-year loss after attacks on European capitals and travel strikes put customers off from flying. Sonia Legg reports
Brits can't resist the pull of the beach. At least that's what easyJet's half year results seem to suggest. Europe's second largest low-cost carrier says strong demand for beach holidays to Spain, Portugal and Greece is making up for a drop in travelling in the wake of recent attacks in Egypt and elsewhere. SOUNDBITE: CMC Markets, Market Analyst, Michael Hewson, saying (English): "Obviously there was the terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels and also the air traffic control strikes in France which have hit revenue in the airline sector so I don't think it is a surprise that easyJet posted a loss - certainly Carolyn McCall does seem fairly optimistic about the future - let's hope that is the case as we head into a summer of sport in 2016." easyJet suffered a first half loss of 24 million pounds - well down on the 7 million profit it made this time last year. But it expects to be back in the red by the end of September - predicting a pretax profit of more than 720 million pounds. That'll allow the airline to increase its dividend payout ratio by a quarter to 50 percent of post-tax income. Competition from larger rival Ryanair and some new budget airlines remains a problem. And low fuel prices aren't a huge help there - they allow all airlines to cut fares.