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Air France strike boosts easyJet's takings

AFP/The Local · 3 Oct 2014, 09:49

Published: 03 Oct 2014 09:49 GMT+02:00

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The news will not go down well with Air France chiefs or indeed the French government but easyJet on Friday lifted its full-year profits forecast as a record-long pilots' strike at Air France caused passengers to switch to the no-frills British carrier.

EasyJet said income grew by about £5.0 million ($8.1 million, €6.4 million) thanks to the strike by pilots at Air France, while the British airline raised its 2014 earnings forecast also following a strong end to its financial year.

The British airline said it now expected pre-tax profit for the 12 months to September 30th of between £575 million and £580 million compared with the group's previous guidance of £545-£570 million.

"We finished the year strongly," easyJet chief executive Carolyn McCall said in the company's trading update. "This has enabled easyJet to deliver record profits for the fourth year in a row."

The airline added that "the impact of the Air France pilots' strike in September is expected to increase easyJet's revenue by circa £5 million as Air France passengers switched to easyJet".

EasyJet had already said that 40 percent of its net profits would be in the form of dividends to shareholders. The group will publish its full-year results on November 18th.

Air France's main pilots' union this week ended the longest strike in the carrier's history to allow talks over the contentious issue of the airline's low-cost subsidiary Transavia.

Air France sees Transavia's development as vital in the struggle to retain market share in the cut-throat medium-haul sector, which is steadily being overrun by no-frills airlines such as easyJet and Ryanair.

Story continues below…

The two-week stoppage has meanwhile cost Air France more than €200 million ($250 million).

SEE ALSO: 'Pilots' strike proves France cannot reform'

AFP/The Local (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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