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Tie-up with Eastern

Flybe slumps to loss after securing flights deal

Flybe: alliance

Regional airline Flybe posted a loss for 2016 after struggling with slower customer demand and rising costs.

Total revenue climbed 13.4% for the year ended 31 March to £707.4m, but its pre-tax loss was £19.9m after a £2.7m profit last year.

The firm blamed competitive market conditions along with a writedown related to upgrading its IT systems.

Shares in the company rose in spite of the loss as it announced investment in its IT systems and improve the customer service which it said would “optimise our revenue per seat”.

The figures came after Europe’s largest regional airline, announced an alliance with Eastern Airways to operate its scheduled route network under the Flybe brand.

It is a first step towards finalising a five year franchise partnership covering four Eastern aircraft, to fly existing Flybe branded routes from Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester.

The four aircraft will operate under the Flybe franchise and significantly improve connectivity for Scotland.

The aim is for contracts to be finalised and signed within the next few weeks.

Eastern’s head office is at Humberside Airport. It operates scheduled domestic and short haul international services and private charter services, with hubs at Aberdeen, Norwich, Teesside, Newcastle, Southampton, Leeds, Cardiff and Paris.

Christine Ourmieres-Widener, Flybe CEO said: “This alliance with Eastern Airways is an excellent opportunity to strengthen the Flybe network.

“We already operate flights at a number of common airports and this will enable passengers to connect to a greater number of destinations, across the UK and into Europe.

“Eastern will operate routes from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Manchester to offer an enhanced service to passengers based in Scotland and travelling to Scotland. Combined with our flights to Heathrow from Edinburgh and Aberdeen, this demonstrates our strong commitment to serving Scotland.”

Richard Lake, chief executive of Eastern Airways, added: “This alliance will benefit both airlines as not only does it strengthen Flybe’s network, but broadens our distribution and enhances connection opportunities for our customers through its global airline association. 

“We have specialised in fixed-wing flying in the oil and gas market for many years and our expertise will provide a greater opportunity to further develop offshore connectivity to Flybe’s network.”

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