More work needs to be done to improve profits in the aviation division of Stobart Group, which includes Southend airport and Stobart Air.
The message came from chief executive Andrew Tinkler as the group reported a drop in earnings (EBITDA) from its aviation arm to £100,000 in the year to February from £400,000 in the previous 12 months.
The year saw rapid growth at the Essex airport with passenger numbers now reaching more than one million.
The recent completion and opening of a terminal extension at Southend increased capacity to five million passengers. The new extension includes foreign exchange bureaus, duty free retail, bars and restaurants.
A partnership with Flybe will see joint venture airline Stobart Air using two branded Flybe aircraft to launch six new routes into Europe.
Tinkler said: “We understand the importance of building new routes and new partnerships to help increase passenger numbers in line with our predictions.
“We aim to grow again in the year ahead and this passenger growth should drive our various revenue streams at the airport.
“Despite our passenger growth, there is still work to be done to improve profitability, with renewed focus on revenue per passenger and controlling costs.”
He added that the company continues to develop plans for Carlisle Lake District airport but these remain “dogged by ongoing challenges around planning”.
Tinker said: “The airport remains a key priority for development by our local authority partners who are aiming to increase inbound international visitor numbers to Cumbria and the Lake District.”
The group reported underlying earnings up to £22.6 million from £21.3 million in the previous 12 months.
Sourced from Travel Weekly