UPDATE 1-Norwegian Air passenger figures rise, boost shares
* Share rises more than 10 pct
* Revenue passenger kilometres +50 pct in Jan
* Load factor +2.6 pct yr/yr (Adds detail, analysts)
OSLO, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Budget airline Norwegian Air Shuttle reported better-than-expected passenger figures for January on Thursday, sending its share more than 10 percent higher.
Norwegian, which launched long-haul operations to the United States and Asia last year, said the distance travelled by paying customers (revenue passenger kilometres) jumped 50 percent from a year earlier, while its load factor - which measures its success in filling its seats - rose 2.6 percentage points.
"We consider this to be strong, particularly when considering the potential negative effect on bookings from the long haul difficulties experienced in late December and early January," Pareto Securities said in a note.
"All else equal, the stronger traffic figures for January would increase our 2014 expected EPS (earnings per share) by 1.4 crowns to NOK 24.2 crowns," it added.
At 0845 GMT, the stock was 10.3 percent higher at 219 crowns and it was the top gained in the Oslo benchmark.
Norwegian, which has expanded rapidly to bases around Europe, faced a public relations storm late last year after several high profile breakdowns of its brand new long-haul Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
Although long haul is still a small part of the firm's operations, analysts said there was a risk that its difficulties on transcontinental flights could erode customer confidence even on its short-haul operations.
"Although traffic revenues were somewhat higher than expected, we maintain our estimates for the time being," Swedbank analysts added. (Reporting by Oslo newsroom; Editing by Mark Potter)
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