Norwich Airport flight provider Flybe puts itself up for sale

Irving Hamilton
November 15, 2018

The airline said it was part of a comprehensive review of its options "to address the current challenges facing the airline industry".

Flybe has confirmed it is talking to "a number of strategic operators" about a possible sale of the group. The airline is now in what it calls "an offer period" and discussions with potential buyers are already ongoing.

Reporting Flybe's interim results, auditors PwC also warned that there was "significant doubt about the Group's ability to continue as a going concern", due to uncertainty surrounding credit card acquirers demanding higher cash collateral.

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.

Higher fuel prices and sterling's weaker value, combined with falling customer demand, have hit the airline, while it is committed to leasing Embraer jets between July and December next year, at a total cost of $114m (£88m).

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

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It serves around eight million passengers a year, but has been struggling to recover from a costly IT overhaul and has been trying to reduce costs.

The announcement came as the carrier reported a fall of more than half in pre-tax profits to £7.4m for the six months to the end of September, compared to £16.1m in the same period past year.

It saw group revenues fall 10 per cent or 2.4 per cent on an underlying basis to £409.2 million after it cut capacity by nine per cent.

Chief executive Christine Ourmieres-Widener said the group continued to see improvements in the third quarter and said cost savings had already helped to drive progress in boosting profits.

Flybe is now reviewing its business in terms of cash management, cost savings and capacity reduction.

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