UK regional airline Flybe has raised almost $260 million in fresh capital through a share flotation launched February 20 in London. The company, which has been battling to rebuild its business model with an aggressive program of cost cutting, is issuing a total of up to 141.5 million new shares to raise £155.6 million. The offer price on February 20 was 110p per share, representing a 7.2-percent discount on the stock’s 118.5p mid-market price on February 19.
Dunlop Aircraft Tyres (Booth M93) is exhibiting new radial tires for regional aircraft including the Embraer E-Jets and ATR 42/72. “This product innovation, combined with our new tire distribution and retreading facility in China, gives aircraft operators increased choice…in this expanding market,” said Ian Edmonson, the company’s chairman. Dunlop’s Asia Pacific customers include China Eastern Airways, Lion Air, SpiceJet and Qantas link.
Exeter, UK-based Flybe plans to slash another 500 jobs as part of a continuing cost-cutting exercise centered on removing excess capacity and improving worker productivity. The announcement follows an earlier round of cuts that saw Flybe shed 590 jobs this year. The company employed some 2,700 people at the end of September.
When representatives from Europe’s regional airlines met in Salzburg last month at the annual general assembly of the European Regions Airline Association (ERA), they did so against a backdrop of red tape, high fuel prices, inefficient ATC and the ever growing threat from low-cost carriers and airports biased toward large aircraft. Nevertheless, the ERA was able to report that its members had managed capacity well to remain profitable, reacting to demand and becoming more efficient as signs of a return to growth become more evident.
Six months after promising a thorough overhaul of its business and having suffered the “most challenging” period in the 10 years since its re-branding from the former British European Airlines, UK regional Flybe reports a “re-energized commercial performance.” In the 12 months leading to March 31, the airline saw losses grow more than five-fold, to £40.7 million ($62 million), driven by increased fuel charges, passenger taxes–which accounted for around 18 percent of its UK-generated ticket revenue–and the costs of restructuring, including the elimination of 490 jobs.
FlightSafety International (FSI) continues to expand its training center here at Farnborough Airport. In a visit to the site ahead of this week’s Farnborough International Airshow, AIN was able to sample its capabilities in training using the latest equipment and simulators–mainly focused on business aircraft, although the company as a whole trains for airlines as well.
SA Express, the state-owned domestic and regional South African airline, has signed a deal with the Dube Trade Port economic zone at Durban’s King Shaka International Airport (KSIA) to help promote trade among the Southern African Development Community (SADC), a regional trade bloc.
Based at Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International, the airline plans greater movement of passengers and cargo at KSIA after President Jacob Zuma said he wanted the site to become South Africa’s leading logistics hub.
US Airways announced last month that it finished installing first-class sections on 110 US Airways Express Embraer E170/175s and Bombardier CRJ700/900s. With the addition of first-class sections on regional partners PSA, Mesa Air Group and Republic Airways, US Airways now offers same-class service to more than 85 destinations. The company began installing the two-by-one seating configurations on its Express aircraft in September and completed all aircraft in mid-December.
Tough cost battles in the market segment where regional airlines and low-cost carriers converge are driving demand for Embraer’s E-Jet series, according to the Brazilian airframer.
The effort by UK low-fare regional Flybe and Finnair to break through European structural barriers to consolidation took the form of an agreement last month between the airlines to jointly acquire Finnish Commuter Airlines (FCA), a Finnish regional carrier owned by Finncomm Oy. The companies plan to create a new joint venture called Flybe Nordic AB, 60 percent owned by Flybe and 40 percent by Finnair.
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