Passenger numbers up as LBA cuts losses by 39 pc

LEEDS Bradford Airport has narrowed its losses, increased passenger numbers and boosted turnover following an increase in capacity and new airline contracts.

The airport, which is backed by private equity investor Bridgepoint, said its pre-tax loss fell to £5.2m in the year to March 31, 2014, down 39 per cent from £8.6m the previous year.

Meanwhile, passenger numbers rose 11 per cent to £3.3m leading to an eight per cent increase in turnover to £26.9m due to increased car parking and retail revenue.

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In the airport’s latest annual report filed at Companies House, chief executive John Parkin said the growth was primarily driven by new arrangements with Monarch and British Airways.

He added: “We continue to develop new routes with Pula and Split added during the year, while the Dusseldorf (Weeze), Kaunas and Budapest services ceased operating. The Islamabad service ceased operating post year end.”

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation increased by 19 per cent to £4.4m. Operating costs also increased 3.9 per cent to £8.2m. “The increase was due to inflationary pressure and investment in operational areas to support the passenger growth,” Mr Parkin said.

Commercial revenues were boosted by the £11m terminal development, which was completed midway through the previous financial year, which increased capacity to more than four million passengers per year.

The development also included more commercial space to accommodate an enlarged duty free shop, enhanced food and beverage facilities and an extension to the Yorkshire Premier Lounge.

Following the year end, Leeds Bradford, which employs just under 3,000 people, carried out a multimillion-pound refinance deal, which took place in April. It involved refinancing a £48.6m senior term loan, a £21.9m capital expenditure facility and a £12m terminal development facility in addition to a £7.5m mezzanine facility - a hybrid of debt and equity financing.

It extended the maturity of the debt to April 30, 2017, with £2m of the mezzanine facility extending to April 29, 2018. At the same time the debt structure was simplified to create one single senior facility for the senior term loan, capital expenditure facility and terminal development facility.

Meanwhile, Bridgepoint provided £15m in the form of loan notes to LBIA Holding, which owns Leeds Bradford.

In addition, £1.5m of cash held within LBIA Holding, was loaned to Leeds Bradford. “Accordingly, the directors are confident that the company is well capitalised to support its continuing operations and to meet is liabilities as they fall due,” the report said.

Last month, Leeds Bradford unveiled major new improvements following a further £1.2m investment.

New car park shuttle buses and an airport front door service are part of the site’s latest improvements.

Changes to the terminal front layout are set to help new car park shuttle buses drive up to terminal front to drop off and pick up passengers at a new bus stop.

Long-stay car park users will also be able to transfer to and from the terminal in new larger buses with extra luggage space and seating.

New bus shelters with colour coded signage will help passengers easily identify their parking zone.

The investment also sees improved security facilities to ease access and create more space for people flying in and out. A further 500 long stay car parking spaces have also been created.

Looking ahead, Mr Parkin said in the report: “The directors anticipate that in the next financial year, the company will deliver a similar level of financial performance.”

The airport declined to comment yesterday.