Airline takes £4m hit from Beast from the East disruption

Generic views of Norwich Airport. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Generic views of Norwich Airport. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Flybe has warned that its full-year results will take a hit from the extreme weather in February and March, which resulted in widespread transport disruption throughout Britain.

The regional airline, which is in the midst of a turnaround under boss Christine Ourmieres-Widener, said that it had to cancel 994 flights in the fourth quarter due to the so-called Beast from the East.

'As a result, we anticipate this to have an impact of around £4m from lost revenue and additional care and assistance costs on cancelled and delayed flights.

'Coming so late in the financial year means that this added loss will be reflected in our full-year financial results,' Flybe said.

The airline flies several routes to and from Norwich Airport.

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Notwithstanding the weather, the group flagged that its turnaround efforts are bearing some fruit, with passenger revenue per seat up by 9% to £50.84 in the period.

Passenger numbers rose by 3.7% and early indications of summer trading are 'encouraging', with an estimated 7.5% increase in passenger revenue per seat.

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Ms Ourmieres-Widener added: 'The Flybe strategy as set out in our business plan to reduce the fleet size is delivering higher load factors and revenue per seat.

'The drive to reduce costs is continuing, given added impetus by the rise in fuel prices and lower value of sterling.

'Despite these headwinds, the foundations are being put in place to strengthen the business and we remain confident that our strategy will continue to improve performance as we go into the new financial year.'

In February, shares in Flybe rocketed after Stobart said it was weighing a potential approach for the Exeter-based business.

But last month Stobart Group said it does not intend to make a bid for Flybe after failing to agree 'satisfactory terms' with the regional airline.

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