What does it feel like to be an airline and make it through the recession as one of only three to stay in the black – ask FlyBe, they will be proud to tell you. Because of this, and obviously other customer service related nuances, Jim French has decided to expand. He mentioned this in a recent statement, saying: “If you are making a profit during the recession, then that’s the time to expand your business.”
FlyBe joins EasyJet and Ryanair as the only airlines to stay in the black, as the global economy remains challenging. They posted a 47 per cent pre-tax profit to 6.8 million pounds in the year to the end of March. Revenue fell about 1.9 million pounds, but the airline grew its additional services revenues per passenger, by over 15 per cent to almost 12 pounds by pre-selling seats and more on-board meals.
French mentioned the expansion would include possibly making acquisitions in Europe, but would not specify which countries were being targeted.
Mike Rutter, chief commercial officer, said FlyBe was “easily” the biggest airline in Scotland. It became the largest carrier in Edinburgh airport this past July, and this is in addition to their strong presence in Glasgow and Inverness.
Another reason for FlyBe’s success – a code-share agreement with Air France signed in July. This easily allows customers to book more connecting flights.
As well as managing flights from England to Scotland and European destinations, FlyBe has an ongoing franchise agreement with Paisley-based Loganair. This contract began in October of 2008.
Rutter discussed how Loganair’s business is part of FlyBe’s future, saying: “We are genuinely proud to be flying to communities in the Highlands and islands, where we know that air travel is not a luxury, but an essential part of daily life. We’re working with chairman Scott Grier and his team to look at ways to grow Loganair’s business.”