More evidence of turbulence in the aviation sector emerged yesterday as Flybe's UK passenger revenues fell in the four months since October.
Europe's biggest regional airline said UK sales were down 0.3 per cent on a year ago to £134m between the final three months of 2011 and yesterday. Last month Flybe issued a profits warning – its third in eight months – thanks to a sharp decline in flier numbers on internal UK flights in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Investec, the airline's house broker, reacted by slashing its forecasts: it expects Flybe to post an £8.5m loss in the year to April. Before Christmas, it pencilled in a £6.4m profit.
Flybe cut capacity by 6 per cent last January, although the airline did sign a joint venture with Finnair that helped it move into continental Europe and sent overall revenue under management in the period up by about a fifth to £165.5m.
Earlier this week budget airline EasyJet admitted that its passenger numbers had slipped by 100,000 to 3.73 million in January compared with a year earlier.