Flybe boss hails progress despite losses tripling

Flybe boss hails progress despite losses tripling

Flybe’s adjusted annual pre-tax losses almost tripled to £19.2 million from £6.7 million in the same period a year earlier.

The adjusted loss for the 12 months to March 31 following the revaluation of US dollar aircraft loans of £20.5 million was described as being in line with market expectations. Group revenue rose by 6.4% to £752.6 million.

The performance came in the face of a “challenging” European aviation market with many airlines impacted by excess short-haul seat capacity, a weaker pound, higher fuel prices and both business and consumer uncertainty.

Flybe also faced the burden of higher maintenance costs, IT investment and poor weather in the final quarter of the financial year.

However, “within this market, the board believes that Flybe offers a differentiated regional business model and has the right strategy to deliver a sustainable profitable future,” the carrier said.

The load factor for the year was up by six percentage points and a 10.1% rise in revenue per seat.

Flybe chief executive, Christine Ourmieres-Widener, said: “We have invested in improving the performance of our Bombardier Q400s to enhance further our aircraft reliability and on-time performance.

“We have also commenced our digital transformation to improve the customer experience and bring improved operational efficiency.

“The additional maintenance costs, onerous IT contract provision, reduced hedging gains and the weather disruption in Q4 have, however, all impacted the adjusted loss before tax figure.”

Flybe described forward sales for the summer period as “encouraging” in the early weeks of the new financial year.

Capacity has been trimmed by 8.6% as the fleet size is reduced.

The airline reported that 54% of seats has been sold against 49% in at the same time last year with a 10.9% increase in revenue per seat and a 1.4% rise increase in passenger revenue.

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

“Our sustainable business improvement plan, launched last year, is enhancing the business in a number of key areas including, network decision-making, revenue management and commercial performance.

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

She added: “We now have a new senior management team in place, with greater aviation experience, and we are all focused on delivering the business plan through continued improvements to revenue, a renewed focus on cost reduction and therefore achieving profitability.

“There is growing awareness of the importance of regional air connectivity, not just to the economy and in connecting people, but also in connecting customers to long-haul services with increased interest from legacy carriers.

“This is shown by the success of our new routes in Heathrow and the growth in our codeshares. Flybe has a unique position in UK connectivity and in its relationship with nine million UK passengers.

“I look forward to a positive future and would like to thank all Flybe employees for their ongoing support and commitment.”

 

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