easyJet announced (27-Jan-2013) that Sir Mike Rake has informed the Board of his intention to step down as a non-executive director and as chairman of easyJet plc in summer 2013. Sir Mike will still seek re-election at the Annual General Meeting on 21-Feb-2013 and has agreed to remain in his post in order to ensure a smooth hand over and provide the Board time to identify a suitable replacement. The Board's Nomination Committee has commenced a process to select and appoint a successor, reviewing both internal and external candidates. Sir Mike Rake said: "easyJet has by any definition enjoyed a period of success and profitable growth in the last three years. As this takes the airline to the threshold of entry to the FTSE 100 it is the right time for me to stand down.... Carolyn McCall and her management team have developed and implemented the right strategy for the airline which is already bearing fruit with record profits, a healthy share price and strong dividends. The airline is now well positioned to continue to deliver profitable growth and returns for all its shareholders." [more - original PR]
easyJet announces Board change, carrier 'bearing fruit with record profits'
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Ryanair, easyJet, Norwegian, Wizz Air, Pegasus Airlines: Europe's top LCCs' collective margin drops
CAPA's previous analysis of the 3Q2016 results of Europe's big three legacy airline groups highlighted a fall in their collective operating margin, after growth in 1H2016. This report shows that Europe's five leading LCCs, in aggregate, also suffered a fall in profit and margin in the quarter.
Three of the five – Ryanair, Norwegian and Wizz Air – improved their profit margin in the quarter, but easyJet's drop in margin was heavy enough to bring down the collective result. Pegasus' margin also declined.
Nevertheless, the LCC five remain collectively far more profitable than the legacy three. Moreover Europe's two most profitable airlines, Ryanair and Wizz Air, look set to increase their margin lead this year. Even easyJet, which has had a bad year by its standards, achieved a higher margin for calendar 9M2016 than the most profitable of the big three legacy groups, which was IAG.
The divergence of results in the European sector suggest that not all airlines are following the same cycle. However the collective margin decline for the continent's leading LCCs, and its major legacy airline groups, at least gives reason to question whether or not the cyclical upswing may have run its course.
easyJet: accelerating growth to take share from legacy airlines in strong easyJet airports
In spite of challenging market conditions and falling profits, easyJet remains on the offensive in its fight for market share with legacy airlines. It is also making contingency plans to apply for an EU AOC to ensure continued intra-European traffic rights in the post-Brexit future.
easyJet's revenue per seat, pre-tax profit and return on capital employed all fell in FY2016 (year to Sep-2016), the first reversal since before CEO Dame Carolyn McCall took the helm in FY2010. In spite of lower fuel prices, easyJet could not lower its cost per seat fast enough to offset the drop in unit revenue. Load factor was just above flat at 91.6%, so the drop in revenue per seat was all price-related. A series of external events put pressure on pricing – including terrorism, ATC strikes and the UK's Brexit vote.
Some airlines might tighten their capacity growth in the face of weak pricing, but easyJet plans to accelerate its seat growth from 6% in FY2016 to 9% in FY2017. It has its sights on an opportunity to take share from legacy airlines in airports where it already has a strong market position.