April 3, 2018 / 6:55 AM / 4 months ago

'Beast from the East' hurts Flybe as flight cancellations jump

(Reuters) - British regional airline Flybe Group Plc (FLYB.L) said on Tuesday flight cancellations due to poor weather in February and March are expected to impact full-year results, but said early indications of summer trading were encouraging.

FILE PHOTO: A Flybe aircraft takes off from George Best Belfast City airport in Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 27, 2017. Picture taken June 27, 2017. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne/File Photo

A Siberian weather system that British forecasters dubbed the “beast from the east” brought snow, strong winds and the coldest temperatures in several years to many regions in the two months through March.

Flybe said it was particularly affected by the cold spell as all of its operations are based within the UK and near continent.

The airline cancelled 994 flights due to bad weather in its fourth quarter, compared with 372 flight cancellations in the same period a year earlier.

Flybe said it would book about 4 million pounds in lost revenue and additional care and assistance costs in annual results on cancelled and delayed flights.

The company, however, said load factor in the fourth quarter ended March 31 was up 6.8 percentage points to 73.5 percent, as it reduced capacity.

The carrier estimated a 7.5 percent increase in passenger revenue per seat in the summer, offsetting an expected 7.9 percent decrease in capacity.

Reporting by Radhika Rukmangadhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri

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