EasyJet to expand holiday business after strong first half

EasyJet said it benefited from a reduction of capacity in the airline market after rival British operator Monarch collapsed last year and Italy’s Alitalia went into administration. (Reuters)
Updated 15 May 2018
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EasyJet to expand holiday business after strong first half

LONDON: British low-cost airline easyJet will expand its holiday business and add a loyalty scheme as new CEO Johan Lundgren seeks to make his mark on the company after reporting strong first-half results.
EasyJet said on Tuesday it would invest more in easyJet Holidays, with Lundgren positioning the company to better compete against his former employer holiday company TUI and its rival Thomas Cook.
Lundgren also said he would focus on attracting business passengers and introducing a new loyalty program, strategies which he believes will drive higher returns for shareholders.
The new focus comes after easyJet swung into profit for the first half, on results that excluded the costly impact of its expansion into Berlin’s Tegel airport last year.
In the traditionally weaker winter half-year period when fewer Europeans travel, easyJet posted a pretax profit of £8 million, a big improvement on the £212 million loss it made in the same period last year.
The company said it benefited from a reduction of capacity in the airline market after rival British operator Monarch collapsed last year and Italy’s Alitalia went into administration.
For the full year, easyJet expects to post pretax profit, including the impact of the losses from Tegel, in the range of £530 million to £580 million, up at least 30 percent on 2017’s outcome.


Oil prices rise after tanker attacks stoke Middle East tensions

Updated 11 min 51 sec ago
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Oil prices rise after tanker attacks stoke Middle East tensions

  • Second time in a month tankers have been attacked in the world’s most important zone for oil supplies
  • Washington blames Iran for Thursday’s attacks

TOKYO: Oil prices rose on Monday after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington will take all actions necessary to guarantee safe navigation in the Middle East, as tensions mounted following attacks on tankers last week.
Brent futures had climbed 26 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $62.27 a barrel by 0314 GMT. They gained 1.1 percent on Friday.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 17 cents, or 0.3 percent, at $52.68 a barrel. They rose 0.4 percent in the previous session.
Prices had jumped as much as 4.5 percent on Thursday after the attacks on two oil tankers near Iran and the Strait of Hormuz.
It was the second time in a month tankers have been attacked in the world’s most important zone for oil supplies as tensions increase between the United States and Iran. Washington blamed Iran for Thursday’s attacks, prompting a denial and criticism from Tehran.
“We don’t want war. We’ve done what we can to deter this,” Pompeo said in an interview with Fox News Sunday, adding: “The Iranians should understand very clearly that we will continue to take actions that deter Iran from engaging in this kind of behavior.”
Tensions between Iran and the United States have risen since US President Donald Trump pulled out of a deal last year between Iran and global powers that aimed to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions in exchange for sanctions relief.
Iran has repeatedly warned it would block the Strait of Hormuz if it cannot sell its oil because of US sanctions.
“Growing tensions in the Middle East remain a cause for concern as traders fear supply disruptions over an escalation toward militaristic conflicts,” said Benjamin Lu, an analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.
Also supporting prices were comments over the weekend by the Saudi energy minister, Khalid Al-Falih, that OPEC would probably meet in the first week of July and he hoped it would reach an agreement on extending oil output curbs.
“We are hoping that we will reach consensus to extend our agreement when we meet in two weeks time in Vienna,” Falih told reporters while attending a G20 energy and environment ministerial meeting in Karuizawa, northwest of Tokyo.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries plus Russia and other producers, an alliance known as OPEC+, have a deal to cut output by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) from Jan. 1. The pact ends this month and the group meets in coming weeks to decide the next move.
US energy companies also cut the number of oil rigs operating for a second week in a row, with production growth expected to slow as crude prices fell to near their lowest levels of the year.