Small Planet Airlines returns to profit in 2013

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Lithuania-based Small Planet Airlines made a €2.6 million ($4.29 million) profit in 2013, reversing a €2.2 million loss the previous year.

Year-on-year turnover increased 52% to €127.5 million, says the charter operator.

“Rebound in economy, change of fleet to Airbus A320s and more flights from existing and new clients have been the major factors for success in 2013,” says Small Planet chief executive Vytautas Kaikaris.

Small Planet expects continued improvement in profitability this year. Since a management buy-out in March 2013, it has reduced its long-term debt by more than half, and it is expecting to pay down all of its remaining long-term interest-bearing debt by year-end.

The carrier will add three used A320s in 2014.

Two 2008-vintage aircraft previously operated by China Eastern Airlines are being leased from CIT Aerospace while a third aircraft will join from operating lessor Aircastle.

Small Planet says it will operate a total of 11 aircraft this year – including nine A320s and two Boeing 737-300s – across its bases in the UK, Poland, Lithuania and France.

The carrier says Poland is the fastest-growing charter market in Europe and as a result it will base one additional A320 there this year. “Small Planet Airlines proceeds to grow cautiously in the Polish market which is very price competitive and plagued by ailing airlines and fragmented tour operators,” says the carrier.