Low-cost airline easyJet said the fall in oil prices could knock as much as Pounds 2 off its average fare this year.
The Luton-based airline, which is now the largest operator at Bristol Airport and the airline's biggest UK operation outside of London, estimates the slump in oil prices by more than half since last summer will take between Pounds 90 million and Pounds 130 million off its annual fuel bill.
A spokesman added that this would be passed on to passengers, taking up to Pounds 2 off last year's total revenue per passenger of Pounds 62.64.
It said: "EasyJet expects that lower fuel costs will beneficial for its customers as fares adjust." The budget airline also said that first-half seasonal losses would reduce this year as the group has added more seats to successful routes and attracted record business passengers in the first three months of the year to the end of December. Shares rose more than 3 per cent yesterday.
It said it boosted quarterly revenues by Pounds 34 million to Pounds 931 million after adding around 500,000 extra seats from airports where it has a strong presence such as London Gatwick, Geneva and Amsterdam. It added that passenger numbers rose by 4.1 per cent to 14.9 million during the quarter to December 31.
In November the carrier posted a full-year pre-tax profit up 21.5 per cent to Pounds 581 million, its fourth year in a row of record pre-tax profits, as it said it was winning the battle for the skies with both national flag carrier and budget rivals. Over the last year, Irish rival Ryanair has adopted easyJet's more customer- friendly approach by softening its stance on baggage charges and booking conditions and introducing a business service.
EasyJet chief executive Carolyn McCall said: "easyJet has made a good start to the year by continuing to deliver its strategy of making travel easy and affordable for passengers. We enjoyed a strong October across the network - particularly on UK leisure flights to beach destinations and on French domestic routes where we continued to build passenger numbers after a busy September."
She added: "We further strengthened our network in the quarter, adding around 500,000 seats, the majority of which are from airports where easyJet has a number one or number two position.
Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Robin Byde said: "easyJet is trading well and in the second half should start to see the benefit of recent expansion of capacity at London Gatwick." Brokers expect easyJet to turn in a full-year pre-tax profit up 9.6 per cent to Pounds 637 million.
The amount easyJet predicts will be knocked off its fares Pounds 2
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