Regional carrier Flybe has recorded an adjusted loss of £19.2 million for the year to 31 March – nearly triple its result in 2016/17.
However, the loss before tax improved to £9.4 million and group revenue was up 6.4 per cent to £752.6 million.
The results come as the airline continues a restructuring plan aimed at improving its financial performance, which has included cutting capacity on some routes and returning some of its leased aircraft.
Flybe says it has invested in improving the ‘technical reliability’ of its Bombardier Q400 aircraft, which resulted in higher maintenance costs for the year. However, the carrier says the Q400 “remains the best aircraft for the core” of its fleet.
The carrier has decided to renew leases on younger Q400s to achieve its target of running a fleet size of 70, but believes the new contracts will be “significantly cheaper” than the current ones. It says the measure will eliminate the need to increase expenditure by purchasing the aircraft, although it warns it will “have to invest approximately £11 million over the next four years to ensure that the aircraft comply with new European Aviation Safety Agency regulations”.
Flybe’s results were negatively impacted by snow storms that caused numerous cancellations across its network.
CEO Christine Ourmieres-Widener, who was recently appointed to the board of IATA, remains optimistic about Flybe’s outlook, saying: “Flybe has made significant progress during my first full year as CEO.
“With our fleet size under control, we are already delivering improvements to passenger yield, load factors and revenue. 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 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 of 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.”