Flybe profits slip amid ‘challenging market’

Flybe UK saw revenues slip in the three months to December as the regional airline cautioned that market conditions remain challenging.

The carrier’s UK operations generated total revenues of £133.7 million in its third quarter, down 0.3% on the same period a year earlier.

The number of seats flown also dropped by 0.3% to 2.75 million – adjusting for the severe weather disruption the previous year, the year on year decrease was 6%.

Passenger numbers and load factor were “comparable” to the same time the previous year at 1.7 million and 61.7% respectively, “despite a UK domestic market which continues to be challenging,” the airline said.

Passenger yield was up by 0.1% to £76.90 and revenue per seat up 0.2% to £47.41.

Fkybe claimed UK regional market share of 50.5% in 2011, up from 48% in 2010, excluding London. The total domestic market share was 27.9%, up from 27%.

Flybe Finland generated quarterly revenues of £25.8 million.

Chairman and chief executive Jim French said: “Flybe UK continues to focus on a number of initiatives to increase revenue per seat, further reduce costs and ensure capacity is optimally matched to demand.

“The business has grown its market share and maintained its leadership position in the UK regional and domestic markets.

“The development of Flybe Finland, our new joint venture with Finnair, continues to progress well. This includes the expansion of scheduled services into Sweden and Denmark, as part of our plan to develop the business into the leading regional carrier in Northern Europe.”

He added: “Although we expect market conditions to remain challenging, we have a robust and flexible business model and clear and achievable growth plans. We remain confident about Flybe’s long term future.”

The airline is due to announce preliminary results for the year ended March 31, 2012 on June 11.

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