Flybe puts itself up for sale as profits plunge

Flybe puts itself up for sale as profits plunge

The company said that it was in discussions with "a number of strategic operators about a potential sale of the company".

Exeter-based budget airline Flybe has confirmed it is putting itself up for sale as it struggles to grow passenger numbers and battles rising costs.

Flybe also pointed to "major uncertainty" around Brexit and the wider economy as a factor.

Owner of London Southend airport, Stobart operates a number of routes under Flybe branding, including a forthcoming service between Cornwall Airport Newquay and Southend.

Flybe said that other options open to it included "further capacity and cost saving measures", and "initiatives to strengthen the balance sheet and preserve cash resources".

Last month Flybe warned that it expected to report a £12m loss for the full year following weaker consumer demand over recent weeks - together with the impact of oil prices and the weaker pound.

The alert sent shares tumbling by more than a third on the day and almost 75% has been wiped off its stock market value since December.

Statutory pre-tax profits for the six months to September 30 more than halved to £7.4 million from £16.1 million a year earlier.

The UK carrier is affected by weaker sterling value, softening short-haul market growth and, of course, increasing fuel prices, according to the company CEO Christine Ourmières-Widener.

Chief executive Christine Ourmières-Widener said continued improvements were being seen into the current third quarter - with a higher portion of seats sold than previous year - that showed "the popularity of Flybe for our customers".

Flybe, whose roots date back to 1979, has 78 planes operating from smaller airports such as London City, Southampton and Norwich to destinations in the United Kingdom and Europe.

"We are responding to this by reviewing every aspect of our business, especially further capacity reduction, cash management and cost savings".

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