Easyjet (2)

Budget airline Easyjet has reported a rise in annual profits for the fifth year in a row thanks to "favourable economic and consumer trends".

Easyjet post profits of £686 million, an 18% rise on last year as it celebrates its 20th birthday. Revenues were up 3.5% to £4.68 billion as passenger numbers grew 6% to 68.6 million in the year to end-September.

Chief executive Carolyn McCall said the outlook for the airline was positive, despite the looming effects of the Russian jet which crashed over Egypt. The figures released today (Tuesday) do not include the after effects of Easyjet's services to Egypt.

Ms McCall said: "Our outlook for the longer term is positive. We expect demand in our markets to be sustained and for Easyjet to continue to be a winner in its markets.

"We will see passenger growth of 7% a year, sustaining margins through rigorous cost control and the benefit of fleet up-gauging, resulting in positive profit momentum."

The UK government suspended flights to Sharm el-Sheikh after a Russia aircraft last month crashed after leaving the airport. The Russian government claims a bomb exploded on board.