Published on Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Flybe plans to 'cautiously test routes' in next 12 months

Flybe plans to 'cautiously test routes' in the next 12 months after gaining control of its aircraft capacity for the first time since its IPO.

In its interim management report today, in which it reported a slump in profits, the airline's executive chairman Simon Laffin said it has completed its transformation and was now free to make some changes.

"Next year, for the first time since the IPO in 2010, we will have control over our aircraft capacity," said  Laffin, who who took over last month when Saad Hammad stepped down 'by mutual agreement'.

"We can begin to move from being a supply-driven business to a demand-driven business. This will free us for even greater focus on implementation excellence and refining route profitability.

"As passenger numbers are still rising across the industry, we see further revenue opportunities. The aviation market is tough at the moment, with excess seat capacity in the European short-haul market coupled with a weaker pound, and both business and consumer uncertainty impacting all airlines.

"However, Flybe has a robust balance sheet and cash position. From this strong position, over the next 12 months, we will open our first European base in Dusseldorf and continue to cautiously test routes to maximise the returns from our existing capacity."

Adjusted profit before tax fell from £21.1m to £15.9m, which Flybe said reflected the impact of challenging external market conditions.

Profit before tax dropped from £22.9m to £7m, hit by the fall in sterling, increasing the cost of dollar loans on aircraft.

Flybe reported a 12.8% increase in Group revenue to £383m for the six months to September 30, driven by higher passenger volumes in Flybe UK, where revenue climbed 10.2% to £364.6m.

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