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Snow and strikes cost easyJet £31m

Budget airline also warns that rising fuel costs could double first-half losses.

Budget airline easyJet has revealed that it lost an estimated £18m from snow disruption and that first-half losses could double because of rising fuel costs.

The company added that strike action by Spanish air traffic controllers cost it an additional £6m and that it suffered a further £7m in "lost contribution" - money that would have expected to make from customers had their stranded planes flown.

However, total revenue in the final quarter of 2010 grew 7.5 per cent to £654m, as the number of passengers flying with the airline grew 8.8 per cent to 11.9m.

The airline's chief executive, Carolyn McCall, said: "[A]gainst a difficult economic backdrop aggravated by severe weather and air traffic control strike action, Easyjet was able to deliver a solid trading performance and grow total revenue whilst improving its position in mainland Europe".

She also urged governments to help ensure that disruption from future snow would be minimal.

"We call on governments to provide sensible legislation for airport regulation and air traffic control. The severe snow disruption of the past two years also highlights the need for airports to invest in the appropriate infrastructure to keep passengers moving."