Poor weather causes financial turbulence for Flybe
UK regional carrier Flybe has said that it expects to be hit with around £4m (€4.5m) in lost revenue as a result of poor weather in February and March.
The airline, which is headed by former CityJet boss Christine Ourmieres-Widener, had to cancel 994 flights due to weather in its fourth quarter, compared to 372 flight cancellations in its fourth quarter last year.
"Coming so late in the financial year means that this added loss will be reflected in our full year financial results," Flybe said today.
Overall the airline said that its turnaround was continuing, with a further improvement in load factors as it reduces capacity.
Load factors were up by 6.8 ppts to 73.5pc in its fourth quarter, a strong performance for the winter season, the airline said in a trading update today.
As a result, estimated passenger revenue per seat was up by 9pc to £50.84.
Passenger numbers rose by 3.7pc, even though capacity was reduced by 6pc.
"The Flybe strategy as set out in our business plan to reduce the fleet size is delivering higher load factors and revenue per seat," Ms Ourmieres-Widener said.
"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."
At the end of March, Flybe had returned five of the planned six end-of-lease aircraft with the final one to be returned in early April, and at the year end, Flybe will have a total fleet size of 80 aircraft, which will fall to 79 once the final hand back is completed.
In March 2017 the airline had 83 aircraft.
Looking forwards, the airline said that very early indications of its summer trading were “encouraging,” with an estimated 7.5pc increase in passenger revenue per seat offsetting an expected 7.9pc decrease in capacity.
In addition, the airline said that to-date it had sold just over one fifth of its first half capacity, up one percent on the capacity sold at the same time last year.
"Our strategy to reduce capacity to focus on profitable flying will continue into the new financial year," Ms Ourmieres-Widener said.