Budget carrier easyJet has declared a 16.7 per cent rise in revenues for the last quarter of 2011. The airline said that passenger numbers were also up by 8.1 per cent on the same period a year earlier. Although the figures are an improvement, easyJet pointed out that figures for the last three months of 2010 were adversely affected by December’s bad weather.

During the period the carrier served 12.9 million passengers and said that the cost of flying per seat had dropped by 1.6 per cent. For the first half of this year, easyJet said it aimed to recover an increase of £100 million to its fuel bill. This will mean predicted losses of between £140 million and £160 million for the period compared to the £153 million loss reported for the first six months of 2011.

Carolyn McCall, easyJet’s chief executive, said that the start of the year had been encouraging and that she remained cautiously confident about the business for the rest of 2012.

Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers’ Keith Bowman said that easyJet’s figures had been better than anticipated. He added that the airline continued to do well against a difficult backdrop and that cost growth was being outpaced by sales growth.

Easyjet is also managing to attract more premium customers. In the last three month of 2011, the carrier attracted 200,000 more business passengers than a year earlier. The airline has also just introduced an administration fee of £9 to replace the £8 booking fee it previously charged customers using a debit card to book seats.