Budget Airline posts shocking losses of £20.5m, Flybe Chief Executive Christine Ourmières-Widener said losses 'in line with expectations'

Budget airline Flybe posts losses at £20.5m against a "challenging aviation market" but "in line with expectations" .

Julian Bray the Aviation Expert writes: By all accepted fiscal standards these are shocking results, but in the aviation business not unexpected. Simply this European wide Regional style airline has traditionally offered far too many seats in larger jet aircraft, rather fully working its existing smaller capacity turbo-prop fleet, by reducing route capacity and reworking schedules accordingly.

Little can be done about the disproportionally high number of aircraft operating leases carried, but with sweeping management changes now in place, the airline does see a brighter future if its not derailed by politicians next March as the Brexit process reaches 'critical mass' and no-one has an answer for that!

The Flybe group's adjusted loss before tax was £20.5m. The airline said the losses were "in line with expectations" however these reflected issues including excess seat capacity in the short-haul market, a weaker pound, higher fuel prices and concerns over Brexit and general consumer and business uncertainty.

Flybe cut losses to £9.4m, but when adjusted for revaluation of aircraft loans and pre-existing operating lease provisions meant the adjusted loss before tax was much higher at £19.2m.
Astonishingly in a statement clearly designed to manage expectations Flybe Chief Executive Christine Ourmières-Widener said her first year at the helm had been marked by "significant progress".

"With our fleet size under control, we are already delivering improvements to passenger yield, load factors and revenue," she said.

"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.

"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 9 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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