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easyJet announces 2012 profits; BALPA raises contract pilots issue

easyJet has announced increased profits in 2012, stating the airline has ‘delivered improved returns in a challenging economic environment’. Profit before tax was up by 27.9% to a record £317 million and pre-tax profit margins grew by 1 percentage point to 8.2% despite a £182 million increase in unit fuel costs.

Commenting on the results, Carolyn McCall easyJet Chief Executive said, “These results demonstrate that easyJet is a structural winner in the European short-haul market against both legacy and low cost competition. The strength of easyJet’s business model and strategy coupled with the hard work and dedication of the easyJet team has delivered record profits as well as a significant increase in returns for shareholders during the year.

The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) has commented that is wrong that in such a profitable company there should be such an extensive use of contract pilots.

Jim McAuslan, BALPA’s General Secretary, said, “easyJet pilots are of course pleased at the company’s performance which has been delivered through the combined effort of all staff from top to bottom.

“The travesty is that more and more of those pilots at the bottom are employed on casual and zero-hour contracts through middlemen and employment agencies, who have no job security and who carry huge personal debts incurred because they also have to pay for their own training. Some have to service debts of £1,400 per month on a salary of just £1,600 per month. BALPA refuses to turn our backs on these pilots .

“We want to see success in airlines and we want to work positively with employers to achieve it, but exploitation of casual labour is not the answer to the competitive trading environment and we will be using all means at our disposal to challenge easyJet management to stop it.”