UK-based regional operation Flybe Group is to ground 10 aircraft at the end of March, and another four by the end of summer 2014, to address surplus capacity.
The grounding is part of a restructuring effort which includes overhauling the airline’s UK and European route network.
Flybe had already embarked on a two-phase turnaround programme in early 2013 but imposed further measures last November, stating that these would include cutting capacity.
It has since been rejigging its UK operation’s network, dropping 30 unprofitable routes for the summer 2014 season and closing six bases to focus on the remaining seven larger ones.
Flybe Group has a fleet of 98 aircraft, including 70 with its UK operation, with the remainder under Flybe Finland.
The company had forecast that its November actions would result in one-off and grounded-aircraft costs of £14 million in 2013-14 and another £27 million in 2014-15.
In a third-quarter results update, Flybe says “work is continuing to reduce the cost of aircraft grounding”.
Flybe had expected to shed some 500 personnel but says that – owing to “contribution-enhancing commercial mitigations”, including delaying some groundings until after summer – the total number will be around 450, with compulsory losses limited to around 40-60.
The overall reorganisation, it says, is “on track” to achieve savings over this financial year and next from network changes, removal of its divisional structure and discussions with suppliers.
Flybe’s third-quarter trading was “in line” with expectations, it adds, with a strong performance in contract flying – particularly at Finnair – underpinning a 5% increase in revenues under management.
UK revenues stayed largely static at £138 million ($226 million) in the three months to 31 December 2013, but its Flybe Finland revenues rose by nearly 20% to over £60 million.