Budget airline Easyjet reported today that the rising price of fuel was putting pressure on its business, but that it had successfully integrated the GB Airways business it acquired from British Airways last year.

Total revenue for the airline, which operates short haul flights across Europe, rose by 24 per cent to £892.2 million, up from £719.0 million last year. Losses before tax were up to £57.5 million, which included £9.1 million in costs from the integration of GB Airways.

Easyjet said the greatest pressure on the company was from rising fuel costs as a result of oil prices. Oil prices have risen by 25 per cent in the last four months. Back in 2001, in the early days of the budget airline industry oil was at $55 a barrel and is now predicted to reach £200 a barrel.

Despite the cost of fuel, Andy Harrison, chief executive of Easyjet was upbeat about the first half figures for 2008. “We continue to grow rapidly in mainland Europe,” he said of the aggressive expansion plans being pursued by Easyjet. The company now has aircraft permanently based and operating out of Italy and France and it estimates that 280 million Europeans are no more than an hour away from an Easyjet flight.

Easyjet completed the integration of GB Airways in January, 2008, with flights going on sale on the Easyjet website. Easyjet paid £103.5m for GB Airways in October 2007.

In December 2007 Easyjet outsourced IT service desk operations to the service division of Alfred McAlpine in a three-year deal.

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