Easyjet warns aviation tax is stifling growth
The company’s demand came as it unveiled a sharp increase in pre-tax profits for the year and a claim by chief executive Carolyn McCall that there was now “clear blue sky” with its competitors.
Despite the company’s strong performance it said it remained concern with the “continued increase in taxes on aviation across Europe” and said next year’s general election in the UK was an opportunity to take action on air passenger duty which the industry wants to see reduced or scrapped.
Easyjet is flying more passengers and more per flight and reported a 21.5% rise in pre-tax profit from £478 million to £581m. Cost-cutting saved the company £32m of which £18m was in the second half.
Commenting on a fourth consecutive year of record profits, McCall said the performance enabled the company to increase the proportion of profits after tax paid in dividends from one third to 40%. It will recommend a 35.5% increase in the pay-out to shareholders to 45.4p per share.
“Our performance demonstrates our continued focus on cost and progress against every strategic revenue priority. Our people are fully aligned behind our strategy and this gives us strong momentum to continue delivering,” she said.
“EasyJet has opened up clear blue sky between us and our competitors – both legacy and low cost.”
But the company’s concern over taxes prompted a further call for the UK government to tackle APD.
In its statement to the London Stock Exchange it said: “EasyJet remains concerned with the continued increase in taxes on aviation across Europe, which is undermining European growth and ultimately jobs.
“EasyJet has undertaken work to demonstrate to governments that these taxes are not in their interest or those of consumers or people working within the sector. The forthcoming general election in the UK provides an opportunity for APD to be addressed in the UK.”