Flybe full-year results defy trading conditions

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UK regional carrier Flybe has delivered a strong full-year performance for 2007-08, while its first quarter profits have risen by 14%.

Simultaneously detailing its first-quarter and full-year results, privately-owned Flybe says it has delivered "an exceptionally strong" trading performance, despite the challenging economic climate.

During the year ended 31 March 2008, Flybe's revenues rose 46% to £536 million ($946 million). Although costs for the year rose by 39%, Flybe's operating profits rose sharply to £31 million from £5 million.

Pre-tax profits for the year totalled £30 million, compared with a £16 million prior-year loss. Net profits stood at £35 million, swinging upward from a £20 million loss.

Comparable figures for 2006-07 were heavily weighed down by exceptional items and restructuring charges following Flybe's acquisition of British Airways' regional operation BA Connect.

Flybe chairman and CEO Jim French says: "Flybe became one of Europe's largest regional airlines in 2007-08 in what was a transformational year for the business as we successfully integrated and realised the benefits of the acquisition of BA Connect."

French says that fuel accounted for 24% of Flybe's total costs, which he claims is among the lowest levels in the industry.

"With one of the most fuel-efficient fleets and a passenger base that is less dependent upon discretionary leisure spend, Flybe is continuing to perform strongly in the current difficult environment," adds French.

During the first quarter he says both revenues and operating profits rose significantly. Pre-tax earnings for the April-June quarter were 14% up at £12.2 million and passenger numbers rose by 18%.

"The combination of our long-term strategy, focused management actions and strong cash position gives us a major opportunity to maximise the opportunities that will surely come as the industry enters a period of consolidation," says French.