Severe cold weather in February and March saw many people’s travel plans disrupted as snow, ice and strong winds wreaked havoc across the UK
The Beast from the East wiped £4m off of Flybe’s revenues due to flight cancellations, airport closures and delays, according to the budget airline’s estimates.
Severe cold weather in February and March saw many people’s travel plans disrupted as snow, ice and strong winds wreaked havoc across the UK. Flybe said it cancelled 994 flights in the three months to 31 March, compared to 372 in the same period last year.
In its latest trading update on Tuesday, the struggling Exeter-based carrier said its turnaround plans were starting to yield positive results.
Revenue per seat – a closely watched measure of an airline’s financial performance – was up 9 per cent to £50.84, behind rivals such as easyJet which reported £55.99 on the same measure in January.
“Load factor” – the proportion of seats available that are actually filled – rose almost 7 percentage points to 73 per cent, some way down on the 96 per cent achieved by market leader, Ryanair.
The improvements helped shares rise 2 per cent to 34p in morning trading on Tuesday but the stock is still trading at little more than a tenth of the 295p price it floated at back in 2010.
The company’s share price tumbled 20 per cent in October after it issued a second profit warning in quick succession, blaming “higher than expected” maintenance costs.
“The Flybe strategy as set out in our business plan to reduce the fleet size is delivering higher load factors and revenue per seat,” Flybe’s chief executive, Christine Ourmieres-Widener, said on Tuesday.
“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.“