The airline launching eight new destinations from Doncaster Airport has hailed a “turnaround” in its fortunes after a troubled few years which saw 14 jets mothballed for more than a year - at a cost of £26m.
Flybe yesterday announced it had returned to profit and completed ‘Project Blackbird’ to put all surplus aircraft - grounded for being too big - back into use, including two at Doncaster.
The Exeter-based airline posted £22.9m profit for the six months to September 30, compared to a £3.3m loss in the same period last year - an increase of £26.2m. Group revenue rose 10.3 per cent to £339.6m.
The news that Flybe is well position for profitable growth will be a relief to bosses at Doncaster Airport which is celebrating the announcement of eight new destinations to popular destinations across Europe. The 44 new flights a week, from March 2016, will go to tourist hotspots Malaga, Alicante, Faro in Portugal as well as Jersey and Newquay. Jets will also connect to Berlin and international hubs, Paris and Amsterdam, opening up hundreds of destinations worldwide.
Saad Hammad, chief executive officer, said: “Our turnaround is on course with a very encouraging performance in the first half.
“We have returned to profit by delivering significant revenue growth through capacity investment and improved commercial execution, while reducing unit cost.
“We are also pleased to have resolved all our key legacy issues with the completion of Project Blackbird. The benefits from this will start to come through next financial year.
“Competitive pressures are expected to grow in the second half with industry-wide benefit from lower fuel costs and growth in seat capacity. Against this backdrop, we are remaining disciplined in cost control and our capacity growth plans. While there are still a number of challenges ahead, Flybe enters the winter season with solid momentum”.
The deal is set to be “transformational” for the airport which is forecasting 500,000 extra passengers.