Flybe soars into profit

REGIONAL airline Flybe has soared to a first half profit as its turnaround plan gathered momentum.

The airline, one of the largest operators at Manchester Airport, where it has its hub, made a profit of £21.1m in the six months to the end of September, compared with a loss of £1m in 2014.

Revenues in the period grew 10.3% to £339.6m as the company which is headquartered in Exeter reported a 10.2% increase in UK passenger numbers to 4.5 million.

Chief executive Saad Hammad hailed a “very encouraging” first half, adding: “We have returned to profit by delivering significant revenue growth through capacity investment and improved commercial execution, while reducing unit cost. We are also pleased to have resolved all our key legacy issues.
“Competitive pressures are expected to grow in the second half with industry-wide benefit from lower fuel costs and growth in seat capacity. Against this backdrop, we are remaining disciplined in cost control and our capacity growth plans. Our focus will be on building service frequency on our established routes to maximise our appeal to time-sensitive business travellers.

“While there are still a number of challenges ahead, Flybe enters the winter season with solid momentum”.

The airline also announced its schedule for summer 2016 from Manchester, where it will operate 338 flights per week across 19 routes.

Flybe said it has added daily frequencies on seven of its most popular routes – to Aberdeen (up to six flights a day), Amsterdam (up to five times ), Paris Charles de Gaulle (up to four times), Dusseldorf (up to four times), Hannover (twice daily), and daily flights to Ireland West Airport Knock and Southampton.  

Paul Simmons, Flybe’s chief commercial officer, said: “We’re excited to confirm our new summer schedule from our Manchester hub. We are confident we have created a schedule that delivers enhanced travel options that are both appealing and affordable for summer 2016.”