Belfast Telegraph

Flybe profits halved as IT and running costs soar

By Holly Williams

Regional airline Flybe has revealed half-year profits nearly halved after it was hit by higher-than-expected aircraft maintenance and IT costs.

The firm, which operates 13 routes from Belfast City Airport, posted underlying pre-tax profits of £8.4m for the six months to September 30, down from £15.9m a year earlier. It employs almost 200 staff in Belfast.

But shares edged higher as the result came in towards the top end of the range given in the group's October profit alert, when it had said profits could fall by up to 69%.

The carrier's results were knocked by a drive to improve the reliability of its planes, in particular the Bombardier Q400 turboprop, as well as additional IT costs of £6m linked to the development of a new digital platform, while the weak pound also took its toll.

Chief executive Christine Ourmieres-Widener said: "While half-year profits are lower than last year, due to the one-off IT contract costs, higher maintenance expenses and the impact of the fall in the value of sterling, I am confident that we are on a clear path to sustainable profitability through the investments and improvements we are making at Flybe."

She added that the group would focus in its second half on improving its cost base and reliability performance, as well as ploughing on with investment in its new online system.

Belfast Telegraph

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