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While Flybe has reported an increase in passenger revenue for quarter four, it anticipates a loss in revenue owing to flights cancelled by last month’s ‘Beast from the East’ winter storm.
Load factor for the quarter was up by 6.8 percentage points to 73.5 per cent. Passenger numbers rose by 3.7 per cent, although capacity was reduced by 6 per cent as part of the regional carrier’s attempts to turn around its financial performance.
Flybe says it estimates revenue per seat was up by 9 per cent, the impact of the increased cancellations in the wake of February and March’s winter storms has led the carrier to anticipate a £4 million loss in revenue. The carrier recorded 994 cancellations in Q4, as opposed to 372 in the same quarter last year.
The airline has returned five of six end-of-lease aircraft it plans to hand back, with the final plane due to be returned early this month. When all aircraft are returned, Flybe’s fleet will stand at 79.
Flybe says the reduction in its fleet size and capacity will help it “focus on profitable flying”, with the strategy set to continue into the next financial year. Early indications are promising, according to the carrier, with an estimated 7.5 per cent in passenger revenue per seat.
Christine Ourmieres-Widener, CEO of Flybe, said: “The Flybe strategy as set out in our business plan to reduce the fleet size is delivering higher load factors and revenue per seat. 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.”