Flybe holds firm after tough year

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AIRLINE Flybe has seen no let-up in the “challenging” conditions which have grounded its shares in recent months.

Europe’s biggest regional airline is forecast to make a loss in the year to March 31, although in a trading update today it said the final quarter of the period had been in line with its hopes.

This helped shares open slightly higher, but the stock is still well below levels seen prior to a profits warning in early January caused by weaker demand for flights in the UK.

Flybe, which flies from airports including Bristol, Cardiff, Doncaster, Edinburgh and East Midlands, said market conditions remain challenging but that it was helped by its “robust and flexible” business model.

It is working on plans to increase revenues per seat, delivering cost reductions and ways to better match capacity to demand. Further details on the measures will be announced with full-year results in June.

Leading airline analyst Andrew Fitchie, of Investec Securities, recently said he expects Flybe to make a loss of £8.5m in the year to March 31, compared to pre-Christmas predictions of a profit of £6.4m.