Flybe's losses take off

The airline's losses shot from £6.2m to £40.7m last year. Although its CEO reckons things will turn around.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 23 Feb 2016
Unless you’re Ryanair or Easyjet, it isn’t a great time to be in the airline industry at the moment – as demonstrated by Exeter-based airline Flybe, which posted results today showing pre-tax losses had soared to £40.7m in the year to the end of March, up from £6.2m before.

The loss was driven in part by passenger numbers, which fell by 1.1% to 7.2 million, from 7.3 million the year before. That was compounded by a rise in fuel costs, which went from £106.4m in 2011 to £122.6m in 2012.

The company says it’s doing everything in its power to turn itself around. Having ditched 20% of jobs last year, it’s now selling up assets in an attempt to claw back some cash – including 25 pairs of arrival and departure slots at London Gatwick, which it’s flogging to Easyjet for £20m, effectively meaning it will no longer have a London hub. It’s also put off the delivery of 20 Embraer aircraft, as well as slashing pilots’ pay by 5% - although they get extra time off in return.

Still, in the face of so much adversity, chairman-slash-chief executive Jim French remained as positive as he could be.

‘Our results… while expected, are nonetheless disappointing,’ he lamented.

‘[But] we continue to make real and measurable progress in Europe… with Flybe’s future cost base significantly improved, the business will now move to reclaim its position as Europe’s leading regional airline.’

Right. Good luck.

- Image: Flickr/Aero Icarus

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