LONDON (Alliance News) - Flybe Group PLC said Wednesday that passenger revenue per seat and load factor rose during the first quarter and that it is trading in line with expectations.
In an interim management statement for the first quarter the low-cost airline said passenger revenue per seat rose 9.5% to GBP52.79 and that load factor - the measure of how full its seats are - rose 9.4% to 75.8% from 66.5% in the comparable quarter last year, driven by the planned 3.9% reduction in passenger yield to GBP69.61 said Flybe.
In its UK operations however, the company reported a 17.2% reduction in seat capacity to 2.5 million seats from three million last year. Aircraft utilisation improved by 9.2% during the period with block hours per operating aircraft increasing from 7.1 hours to 7.8 hours, it said.
Turning to costs, the company said that it has improved its cost discipline as it works to increase efficiency; total group costs were 16.6% lower during the quarter. Flybe said its planned cost savings of GBP24 million is on track in 2014/15, taking cumulative annualised savings in the turnaround plan to GBP71 million.
Flybe said the 11 new routes which were launched in Summer 2014 are performing in line with route assessment model expectations.
In its Finland joint venture the low-cost airline said that it has seen a reduction in the number of loss-making scheduled lines of flying as two (out of six) aircraft have been returned to lessors; the company said it is in talks with its joint venture partner Finnair to address performance. The continuing decline in the domestic Finnish passenger market resulted in continuing revenue weakness in the scheduled flying operation, said the company, "losses in scheduled activity continue to be unacceptable in the Finland JV."
The company said that its first quarter metrics demonstrate an encouraging start to the year, in line with management expectations, and that the trading performance shows the "benefits of our disciplined approach across four focus areas: capacity, revenue, costs and organisation. We also continue to prepare the business for future growth."
Looking ahead the company said it has 16 new routes set for launch for Winter 2015, including five new London City routes and extension to year round operations of six of the Birmingham summer routes.
Shares in Flybe Group were Wednesday trading 3.05% higher at 121.60 pence per share.