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Flybe reports 40% increase in Aberdeen seats

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Flybe has reported its first pre-tax profit in four years – with the airline announcing a 40 per cent increase in seats from Aberdeen International Airport.

The Exeter-based carrier, which serves 35 UK airports, is also poised to announce a new connection at Inverness Airport.

It comes after Flybe withdrew aircraft and crew from Aberdeen and the Inverness-London Gatwick service as part of a £150 million turnaround drive.

The regional airline introduced a major cost cutting programme in November having slumped into the red by £23.2million in 2012-13 amid higher fuel costs and a declining domestic market.

But this week the firm announced a reversal of fortunes – posting bottom-line profits of £8.1 million in the year to March 31, compared with a loss of £41.1 million a year earlier.

The number of Flybe passengers passing through Aberdeen has risen 40% to 625,000 this fiscal year and by 13% to 410,000 at Inverness Airport.

Chief commercial officer Paul Simmons said: “We had to take some unpleasant measures to slim down our cost base but we have emerged as a stronger and more viable airline.”

Last year’s turnaround plan saw 30 unprofitable routes axed and the loss of more than 1000 jobs, including 35 in Inverness and 12 in Aberdeen.

But Mr Simmons said the carrier remained committed to the north of Scotland.

He said: “We are going to be announcing another route for Inverness tomorrow and we will also visit Aberdeen this week to discuss opportunities there.

“Our interest remains very strong in terms of growth, but we have to do it in the right way.”

Meanwhile, Aberdeen International Airport revealed yesterday that it too has enjoyed a rise in passenger numbers.

A total of 327,469 people passed through its doors in May – up 6.7% on the same month during the previous year.

Airport managing director Carol Benzie said: “We have seen growth in both the domestic and international markets; in fact international growth has performed particularly well.

“Over the past few weeks we have seen the launch of new flights for summer 2015 and have been able to add a route to Faro to our destination portfolio.”

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