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EasyJet names former Ryanair executive Bellew as operations chief

UK low-cost carrier EasyJet has appointed former Ryanair executive Peter Bellew as its new chief operating officer, it disclosed today as it reported "robust" third-quarter trading.

EasyJet chief Johan Lundgren says Bellew's experience at both low-cost and full-service carriers – he served a stint as Malaysia Airlines' chief executive – meant he would be a "great addition" to the team.

Bellew is leaving Ryanair at the end of the year, but it is not yet confirmed when he would take up his new role at EasyJet, says Lundgren.

In a trading update, EasyJet says total revenue for the three months to 30 June rose 11% to £1.76 billion ($2.16 billion), while revenue per seat rose 0.7% at constant currency.

The airline highlights that it brought cost per seat excluding fuel down by 4% at constant currency in the quarter.

"Our customers experienced significantly less disruption aided by our investments in resilience, with two-thirds less cancellations in the period helping to drive costs down," notes Lundgren.

EasyJet also says it is benefiting from more capacity discipline in the market, with rivals growing capacity 3.4% across its network. That compares with EasyJet's full-year capacity growth of 10%, unchanged from its last update.

"Make no mistake, it is still tough out there," says Lundgren. EasyJet expects second-half headline revenue per seat will be slightly down. .

However, Lundgren says he is pleased with the late-booking environment and adds that EasyJet has taken measures to improve late yields, such as getting more detailed information on pricing on a route-by-route basis via better data analysis and algorithms.

It says it expects to deliver a full-year profit before tax of £400-440 million, which it describes as in line with market expectations. For the 2018/19 financial year, it made a profit of £578 million.

For the current financial year it expects a total fuel bill of £1.4 billion and foresees that foreign-exchange movements will have a £5 million adverse impact on headline pretax profit.

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