Flybe profits soar

RECORD profits for regional airline Flybe have seen it buck the recent industry trend of crisis amidst soaring fuel prices.

RECORD profits for regional airline Flybe have seen it buck the recent industry trend of crisis amidst soaring fuel prices.

The airline, which operates out of Exeter Airport, continues to have a growing influence on East Devon residents with more than 20,000 people who live in the area having used it and half of the airlines 1142 staff living within 20 miles of the airport.

For the year ending 31 March 2008 the Flybe has seen a 46 per cent increase in turnover to £535.9 million and an underlying profit before tax of £35.4 million, a £20 million improvement from the previous year.

The first quarter of this year (April to June 2008) looks equally a s strong with pre-tax earning of £12.2 million, an increase of 14 per cent on last year with passenger figures rising by 18 per cent.

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Flybe has put its success down to a fuel efficient fleet and a customer less dependable on discretionary leisure spending.

Chief Commercial Officer Mike Rutter said: "Flybe has a unique market position we are the number one UK domestic regional point to point airline and our passenger profile is 45% business, 33% visiting friends and relatives and finally 22% leisure/ hobby. We have minimal competition from surface transport as 80% of our routes are across water, no routes are under 3 hour drive time and only 3 routes are under 4 hour train time."

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The airline is also keen to continue it's employment of local people.

Mr Rutter said: "We are working closely with both Exeter College and the University of Exeter through the Training Academy to grow our own talent.

Mr Rutter also feels the growing popularity of Flybe and Exeter Airport has unseen benefits and is hopeful the airline can continue to attract local passengers to the airport.

He said: "We reckon that we have than over 34m passengers off the road by offering flights from Exeter since we started Flybe in 2002. This is based on the travel distance to alternative airports against the increased number of passengers now using Exeter.

During this time of high fuel prices and the uncertainty in the economy we have no plans to change our route network here at Exeter. As soon as the economy and fuel prices stabilize we will evaluate the situation."

Last Friday at total of 40 Flybe flights departed or landed at Exeter Airport. The airline offer 27 routes from Exeter, 11 domestic and 16 international. Of the 1142 staff working out of Exeter, 568 are engineers, 73 are cabin crew 73, 66 are flight deck, with a further 435 based in Headquarters.

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