Belfast Telegraph

Flybe trims losses as passenger numbers increase

By Helen Cahill

Flybe has managed to limit its losses with higher sales and customer numbers during a "challenging" period for the airline operator.

The company reported a pre-tax loss of £9.4m for the year ending March 31, 2018 - an improvement on its £48.5m loss the year before.

Group revenue was up 6.4%, rising from £707.4m to £752.6m. Passenger numbers increased from 8.8 million to 9.5 million, a rise of 7.7%.

The airline, which flies to 15 UK destinations from Belfast City Airport, was forced to restate its 2017 losses due to an onerous lease provision on one of its aircraft.

This resulted in a £28.6m non-cash impairment for 2017, and a £1.3m hit to its figures this year.

Shares were down 4% in morning trade following the update.

The firm said Europe's aviation market "continues to be challenging", with airlines struggling with an oversupply of short-haul flights, higher fuel prices and a weak pound.

Chief executive Christine Ourmieres-Widener said: "Flybe has made significant progress during my first full year as chief executive. With our fleet size under control, we are already delivering improvements to passenger yield, load factors and revenue.

"Profitability has however been impacted by higher maintenance costs, IT investment and the poor weather in the final quarter."

Flybe said its sales in the first half of the 2019 financial year were "encouraging", and that passenger revenue was 1.4% higher year on year so far, with revenue per seat up by 10.9%.

The company's shares rocketed in February when Stobart Group said it was considering a bid for the company.

Stobart and Flybe already work together and have a franchise arrangement between the two groups' airlines.

However, Stobart walked away from its bid in March after the two firms failed to agree terms.

The airline runs eight aircraft and employs 200 people from its operations at Belfast City Airport.

Belfast Telegraph

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