Low cost Airline EasyJet has delivered impressive results, with pre-tax profits up by 27.9% to a record £317 million despite a £182 million increase in unit fuel costs.

The total revenue per seat grew by 5.9% to £58.51, driven by, among other things, the careful targeting of capacity to markets with the strongest returns potential, according to EasyJet's statement.

Website improvements to easyJet.com and the success of the 'Europe by easyJet' campaign also helped the airline.

Passenger numbers rose 7.1% to 58.4 million.

Although the cost to the airline of each seat, excluding fuel, fell by 1% for the full year, other cost increases were driven by higher charges at regulated airports, especially in Spain and Italy.

And shareholders will be celebrating after the EasyJet board decided to up its dividend policy from paying out a fifth of the pre tax profit to shareholders to paying out one-third of profit.

Commenting on the results, Carolyn McCall, EasyJet's chief executive, said the results demonstrated that the airline was a structural winner in the battle for European short haul flights.

"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," she said.

"While there is always the potential for unexpected events to temporarily impact financial results, the board of EasyJet is confident that its business model, strategy and people will consistently continue to generate superior returns and growth for shareholders."

Short haul rival Ryanair also produced stellar results on 5 November, with fares rising 6% and passenger numbers surging 7% in the six months ending September 2012.

Its first-half net profit rose to £479m from £437m a year ago, with revenue jumping 15% to £2.49 billion.