Flybe boss staying positive in face of airline's £20.5m loss

PUBLISHED: 08:58 19 June 2018 | UPDATED: 08:58 19 June 2018

Flybe aircraft at Norwich Airport. Picture: Archant

Flybe aircraft at Norwich Airport. Picture: Archant

Extreme weather and aircraft maintenance costs have caused full-year losses at Flybe to increase.

The regional airline, which operates flights from Norwich, reported a loss before tax of £20.5m in the year to March 31 2018, which it said was “in line with market expectations”.

This is despite revenue increasing by 6.4% to £752.6m and a 10.1% rise in passenger revenue per seat to £53.79.

The results echo the previous year, when Flybe made a £19.9m pre-tax loss on increased revenue of £707.4m.

The airline issued a warning in October last year saying that higher-than expected maintenance costs were likely to drag down profits.

Its financial woes were compounded by a £4m hit from the Beast from the East in February and March, with almost 1,000 flights having to be cancelled.

Chief executive Christine Ourmières-Widener said higther maintenance costs, IT investment and poor weather in the final quarter had impacted profitability.

But she maintained that the group had made “significant progress” during her first year in charge.

“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.”

She added that the “growing awareness of the importance of regional air connectivity” was helping the airline, which has nine million passengers in the UK.

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