EasyJet to reduce winter losses by £25m

EasyJet to reduce winter losses by £25m

EasyJet expects to trim traditional winter losses by at least £25 million due to an improved performance in the half year to this month.

The budget carrier expects a pre-tax loss for the six months to March 31 of £55 million/£65 million compared with previous guidance of a loss of £70 million/£90 million.

The airline made a pre-tax loss of £61 million in the same period last year.

Revenue per seat growth at constant currency for the six months to March 31 is expected to be around 1.5%, the airline said in a trading update this morning.

This has been partly driven by the introduction of allocated seating, increased average sector length and a number of “digital and revenue management initiatives”.

Cost per seat growth excluding fuel at constant currency is expected to be 0.5%, which is better than the guidance issued in January, driven by a “benign winter” with reduced levels of de-icing and disruption in the three months to March 31.

As previously signalled, last year Easter fell on March 31 resulting in £25 million of additional revenue in the first half of 2013. In this financial year Easter will fall in the second half on April 20.

Chief executive Carolyn McCall said: “EasyJet has continued to execute its strategy delivering another good performance in the first half of the year.

“This performance demonstrates our continued focus on cost and progress against all our strategic priorities.

“It also demonstrates easyJet’s structural advantage in the European short-haul market against both the legacy and low-cost competition.

“Our strategy of offering our customers low fares to great destinations with friendly service and a focus on cost control ensures that we can continue to deliver sustainable growth and returns for our shareholders.”

Further details on the airline’s performance in the half year to March 31 will be given when it publishes half-year results on May 13.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Airport optimistic despite deeper losses

Losses increased at Cardiff Airport as the business was hit by the departure of airline operator Bmibaby.

A 2011 operating loss of £302,000 had grown to £1.7m loss a year later while pre-tax losses increased year-on-year from £924,000 to £2.38m.

Turnover at the airport, which announced in March it had struck a £52m buyout deal with the Welsh Government, fell from £16.7m to £14.8m for the year to 31 December 2012.

Notes accompanying the newly filed accounts for Cardiff International Airport Ltd said passenger numbers fell by 16 per cent during the year to 1.02 million, “largely due” to the withdrawal of Bmibaby from the airport in October 2011.

Looking ahead, the report said: “Despite a further fall in passenger numbers during 2012, there are signs the next annual movement in passenger numbers will be positive, with growth expected in low cost and charter activity during 2013.”

Chief executive Jon Horne said: “We are optimistic about the future potential of the airport having recorded our fourth month of growth in passenger numbers.

“August figures show passenger numbers totalling 148,220 for the month which is an increase of 14 per cent over August 2012, continuing the trend of May, June and July.

“We have already announced increased services for both summer and winter 2013 and are working hard to get more airline capacity in place.

“We are confident we shall continue to make progress this year and remain focused on delivering more capacity and an improved route network for the people of Wales.”

Sourced by Inside Media


Disappointment as Flybe losses deepen

Disappointment as Flybe losses deepenBy Phil Davies

A pre-tax loss of £40.7 million was reported this morning by Flybe against £6.2 million in 2011/12.

The struggling regional airline said cost savings of £25 million in the first phase of a turnaround plan had been exceeded as it cut UK staff numbers by more than 20% and pilots agreed a 5% pay cut

A further £30 million of savings are being targeted for the current financial year

The airline is selling its Gatwick take off and landing slots to easyJet for £20 million and has deferred delivery of 16 Embraer E175 regional jets.

Flybe said it welcomed “growing political momentum” to devolve Air Passenger Duty policy to the UK regions, as well as growing pressure to create a more coherent regional aviation policy for the UK as a whole.

“Flybe and its customers would be significant beneficiaries of both of these developments,” the airline said.

Chairman and chief executive Jim French said: “Flybe has exceeded its target of taking out £25 million from its cost base during 2013/14 and will deliver around £40 million in savings in this current financial year, expected to rise to £50 million annualised savings from 2014/15 onwards.

“In the last few months we have streamlined the business, reducing UK-based headcount by more than 20%. We have also made major progress in reducing the cost of our supplier base.”

He claimed that its decision to exit Gatwick “acted as a clarion call for action and debate on the injustice of the grossly unfair ‘double hit’ nature of the APD tax on the UK regions”.

French said: “The plans being developed in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast are aimed at reducing this burden, and bode well for our customers, the regional economies we serve and Flybe itself. We will support these developments and work closely with those seeking to bring about change.

“Our results for 2012/13, while expected, are nonetheless disappointing. During the year, we have taken difficult decisions as part of our turnaround plan, which have affected all our people. Challenging as they have been, these decisions were critical to ensuring the future success of Flybe.

“We expect to see considerable reductions in the cost base of the business in both this year and the next, thanks to the actions taken during the course of 2013 that are targeted to be complete later this year. The group is now more strongly placed for the future.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Full-year losses fly at regional airline Flybe despite savings

StockMarketWire.com - Regional airline Flybe revealed an adjusted loss before tax, restructuring and surplus capacity costs in 2012/13 of £23.2m (2011/12: loss of £7.1m). There was a reported loss before tax of £40.7m (2011/12: loss of £6.2m).Revenue under management in the year to end-March, including the full year impact of Flybe Finland, was up 15.1% to £781.5m (2011/12: £678.8m).

Total cash was £54.7m at 31 March 2013 (2012: £67.6m), and net assets of £48.1m (2012: £89.4m).

Target cost savings of £25m under Phase 1 of turnaround plan were exceeded, with £30m of annual cost savings now secured for year 2013/14 onwards.

Phase 2 of the plan is being implemented, targeting a further £10m of savings in 2013/14, rising to around £20m from 2014/15. This would take total annual cost savings to some £50m from 2014/15 onwards.

UK based head count is being reduced by more than 20%.

Agreement in principle has been reached with the British Airlines Pilots Association (‘BALPA’), for up to a 5% reduction in salary in return for extra time off.

The turnaround plan is being financed through:

® The transfer of arrival and departure slots at London Gatwick Airport (‘LGW’) to easyJet for £20m, subject to a simple majority shareholder approval; over 54% of shareholders have given their irrevocable approval to the transaction;

® The deferral of 16 Embraer E175 (E-series regional jet) aircraft deliveries, saving £20m of cash outflow for pre-delivery payments in winter 2013/14;

® The disposal of various other minor assets.

Update on ‘Delivery and Future Direction’

The actions taken so far under Phases 1 and 2 of Flybe’s turnaround plan, Delivery and Future Direction, are now expected to deliver some £40m of annual cost savings in 2013/14 (against the original target of £25m), and targeted to reach an annual savings figure of around £50m by 2014/15 onwards.

Jim French CBE, Chairman and CEO, stated:

“Flybe has exceeded its target of taking out £25m from its cost base during 2013/14 and will deliver around £40m in savings in this current financial year, expected to rise to £50m annualised savings from 2014/15 onwards. In the last few months we have streamlined the business, reducing UK-based headcount by more than 20%. We have also made major progress in reducing the cost of our supplier base.

“Our announcements on 23 May 2013 have acted as a clarion call for action and debate on the injustice of the grossly unfair ‘double hit’ nature of the APD tax on the UK regions. The plans being developed in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast are aimed at reducing this burden, and bode well for our customers, the regional economies we serve and Flybe itself. We will support these developments and work closely with those seeking to bring about change.

”Our results for 2012/13, while expected, are nonetheless disappointing. During the year, we have taken difficult decisions as part of our turnaround plan, which have affected all our people. Challenging as they have been, these decisions were critical to ensuring the future success of Flybe.

“As outlined above, our turnaround plan has involved considerable efforts to reduce the cost base of the business. Inevitably, and sadly, this process has to date involved the departure of around 490 people from the business. We do not underestimate the effect of these difficult decisions on those staff leaving and the friends and colleagues that they leave behind.

“I would like to thank all of our employees, staff and union representatives for their hard work, support and resilience through what is proving to be a very challenging period for the business and its staff.

“Flybe remains Europe’s largest independent regional airline, flying over 200 routes from more than 100 airports across 23 countries. We have a leading brand, a strong reputation for service excellence and a standing amongst our peers that means we can, and do, undertake business with all the major airline groups in Europe. We continue to make real and measurable progress in Europe, with our contract flying business in particular being a stable, income-generating entity which is well positioned for further growth. With Flybe’s future cost base significantly improved, the business will now move to reclaim its position as Europe’s leading regional airline.”

Story provided by StockMarketWire.com

- See more at: http://www.stockmarketwire.com/article/4617925/Full-year-losses-fly-at-regional-airline-Flybe-despite-savings.html#sthash.Gp0xVris.dpuf


Virgin Atlantic pledges two-year turnaround following increased losses

Virgin Atlantic pledges two-year turnaround following increased lossesVirgin Atlantic has reported an increase in annual losses despite a rise in revenue in the year to February.

The carrier lost £93 million, up from £80 million a year earlier. However Virgin Atlantic’s group pre-tax loss was lower at just under £70 million thanks to a one-off exceptional item and a profit at Virgin Holidays.

The airline blamed rising costs and tough economic conditions for the losses, but announced a 5% increase in annual revenue to £2.87 billion.

Passenger numbers rose year on year by 188,000 to 5.5 million.

Airline chief executive Craig Kreeger said: “Last year saw a double dip recession, a continued weak macro economy, and an Olympic Games which . . . severely dented demand for business travel.”

Kreeger, who took over running Virgin Atlantic in February, has pledged the airline will turn a profit in two years.

He reported a 9.2% rise in premium economy and Upper Class passengers year on year, coupled with an overall rise in load factors.

Virgin Atlantic is now 49% owned by US carrier Delta Airlines, which bought out Singapore Airlines’ long-held stake in December.

Kreeger said: “Virgin Atlantic has a programme of measures which I’m confident will improve our financial performance considerably and put us firmly on the road to a return to profit in spring 2015.”

The carrier launched its first short-haul and domestic services in March, with new brand Little Red operating a series of shuttle services between Heathrow and Manchester, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

Kreeger said: “This marks a step change in Virgin Atlantic’s business model.

“Already, 27% of Little Red passengers are connecting onwards with Virgin Atlantic at Heathrow. This will be a significant revenue generator for the business.”

He added: “The alignment with Delta will give Virgin Atlantic passengers greater connectivity throughout North America meaning a more attractive offering and will greatly enhance Virgin’s sales base and revenue opportunities across the US.”

Kreeger insisted: “The enduring strength of the Virgin Atlantic brand has not wavered.”

He reported a 6% year-on-year increase in sales at Virgin Holidays and said: “Virgin Holidays continues to be the UK’s preferred choice in long-haul trips worldwide.”

Sourced by Travel Weekly


CEO: Air Malta expects to sharply reduce losses this year

Air Malta Airbus A320By Alan Dron

Air Malta expects to sharply reduce its losses this year as it enacts its turnaround plan, according to CEO Peter Davies.

Speaking on the sidelines of the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) annual conference in Edinburgh, Davies said he anticipates Air Malta’s loss for 2012 would be around €15 million ($19.6 million), compared to the figure of around €55 million he inherited two years ago.

He said the carrier’s major restructuring plan is on track, largely due to the €130 million in state aid approved by the European Commission (EC) in June 2012.

He said that Air Malta was in a better position than Cyprus Airways, which is reportedly facing bankruptcy if it does not receive financial aid. That, he believed, was a reflection of the parlous state of the Cypriot economy. By contrast, “The economy in Malta is very strong. It’s been managed exceptionally well and unemployment is very low,” he said.

Sourced by ATW


New Virgin Atlantic boss imposes staff pay freeze

New Virgin Atlantic boss imposes staff pay freezeBy Phil Davies

Virgin Atlantic’s 9,000 staff face a pay freeze after being warned to brace themselves for deeper losses at the airline.Record annual losses of £135 million are expected, raising the prospect of job cuts, theSunday Times reported.

An internal memo from new chief executive Craig Kreeger seen by the newspaper said the airline’s financial performance is “well behind where we anticipated” following a £80.2 million deficit last year.

The airline confirmed the detail of the memo in which Kreeger imposes an immediate pay freeze and initiated a broad-based cost cutting plan. Virgin Atlantic said the UK airline industry had faced “continued challenges over the past year”.

Plans to increase long-haul revenues by £50 million and make savings of £40 million would not be enough to get the airline back into profitability, said Kreeger.

“The 2012-13 financial airline performance will be a significant loss. Two years of significant cash losses have depleted our resources and decreased our ability to invest,” he said.

This meant the carrier would have to make “some tough calls”.

“One of those decisions is to recognise and communicate the reality that we cannot afford any pay increases this year. It is not ideal that this is the first big decision I have to take,” he added.

Virgin Atlantic faces higher fuel costs and greater competition on transatlantic routes from the British Airways/American Airlines joint business.

The airline has responded by forging its own partnership on the North Atlantic with Delta Air Lines becoming a 49% shareholder and creating its own UK domestic arm to feed traffic onto long-haul services from Heathrow. More fuel efficient aircraft are also being introduced to the fleet.

“These improvements will result in considerable financial savings,” the carrier said. “The airline has also made the decision to suspend salary increases for this financial year.”

Sourced from Travel  Weekly


Heathrow losses slashed during ‘record’ year

Heathrow losses slashed during 'record' yearBy Phil Davies

The owner of Heathrow slashed losses by more than £200 million last year on the back of record passenger numbers using the London hub.The airport operator announced a pre-tax loss of £32.8 million for 2012 against a loss of £225.8 million the previous year. Revenue was up by 8.1% to 2.4 billion.

The company was boosted by the London Olympics and improved passenger satisfaction levels.

Passengers using Heathrow rose to 70 million from 69.4 million in 2011 but the numbers using Stansted – which has since been sold to Manchester Airports Group for £1.5 billion – dropped by 500,000 to 17.5 million

The sale of Stansted is expected to completed by the end of the month.

The group said it will make submissions to the independent Airports Commission headed by Sir Howard Davies into UK airport capacity during the year.

“The main development in UK aviation policy in the last year related to the debate on hub airport capacity, the importance of which is underlined by the fact that in 2012 Heathrow, the UK’s only hub airport, once again operated close to its maximum permitted annual flight numbers,” the company said.

“The hub airport model used by Heathrow and its competitors uses transfer passengers to support flights to long-haul destinations which would not be viable using local demand alone.

“But unlike its rivals in France, Germany, the Netherlands and Dubai, Heathrow is full and its capacity constraints prevent any meaningful increase in the numbers of flights and routes.

“This means the country’s ability to trade with emerging economies is constrained, with potential long-term consequences for UK trade, jobs and economic growth.

“At the start of 2012, whilst the importance of hub airport capacity was beginning to be accepted by the UK government, a third runway at Heathrow was being excluded as a potential solution.

“However, during the year the government established the independent Airports Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, which has been tasked with identifying and recommending the options for maintaining the UK’s status as an international aviation hub.

“It is expected to do this by assessing the UK’s international connectivity needs and recommending the optimum approach for meeting these.”

The Commission is expected to produce an interim report by the end of 2013 which will set out its assessment of the evidence on the nature, scale and timing of the steps needed to maintain the UK’s global hub status.

A final report is expected by summer 2015 which will set out the commission’s assessment of the options and the economic, social and environmental impact and a recommended solution.

Heathrow chief executive Colin Matthews said: “2012 was an historic year for Heathrow. We gave a warm welcome and a smooth journey to thousands of Olympic and Paralympic athletes, and greeted a record 70 million passengers over the 12 months.

“We also achieved record customer satisfaction levels, with three quarters of people saying they had a ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ experience at Heathrow.

“Our capital investment programme continued, with over £1 billion spent on improving the airport, mainly on the new Terminal 2 which opens next year.

“We also completed our refinancing programme, successfully issuing another £3 billion of bonds to put us on a stable, long-term financial footing.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly


IAG presses ahead with Iberia cost cutting plans

International Airlines Group will slash capacity at Iberia by 15% the group has confirmed.

In a statement IAG, owner of British Airways, said “no agreement has been reached between Iberia and its trade unions over the airline’s transformation plan proposals”. It added: “Iberia will, therefore, press ahead with the previously announced capacity reduction of 15% for 2013.”

Under the plans, 4,500 jobs could go along with 25 aircraft being removed from the fleet. Already Iberia has started cutting routes and optimising services. The Spanish unions are vehemently against the cuts and have threatened to stage more strikes if they go-ahead.

In a statement IAG added it would: “move forward on alternative plans to return Iberia to break-even, in terms of operating cash flow, by the second half of this year and restore Iberia to an acceptable level of profitability by 2015.”

Willie Walsh, IAG chief executive, said: “We’re disappointed that no agreement has been reached. Iberia is ready and willing to negotiate with the trade unions. We are determined and united to implement the necessary changes to secure the future survival and viability of Iberia”.

Sourced from TTG Digital


Strike threat at Iberia after cuts plan rejected

Strike threat at Iberia after cuts plan rejectedBy Phil Davies

Strikes are being threatened at Iberia after unions rejected a fresh proposal by management on job and salary cuts hours before yesterday’s deadline for agreement.The International Airlines Group-owned carrier and unions were in talks over loss-making Iberia’s plans to axe up to 4,500 jobs and cut salaries in what chief executive Willie Walsh has called a “fight for survival”.

In a revised proposal, Iberia said it offered 3,147 job cuts, 30% fewer than in the original plan, lower wage reductions and capacity cuts of 10% this year rather than an initial plan for 15%.

But the six unions that represent Iberia’s ground and cabin crews rejected the plan in a joint statement yesterday, calling it far from the terms that had been agreed during weeks of talks with management.

The unions did not say when they would go on strike, Reuters reported. Pilots union Sepla also rejected the new restructuring plan, but stopped short of supporting strike action.

The airline had set a January 31 deadline to reach a deal with the unions and has threatened unilateral cuts if staff failed to support the plan.

Iberia said the latest plan enabled the airline to “return to profitability, with the least possible sacrifice” by its workers. The IAG board is due to meet today to respond to the rejection of the revised cost cutting plans.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


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