March 29, 2017 / 6:49 AM / 4 months ago

Flybe cuts capacity and costs due to weak demand, pricing pressure

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March 29 (Reuters) - Airline Flybe Group Plc has reduced flying capacity and cut costs as weak demand, pricing pressures and poor weather conditions dented fourth-quarter revenue, it said on Wednesday.

The British airline said it expects to report an adjusted loss before tax for the year ended 31 March 2017 due to a charge of 5-10 million pounds ($6.2-$12.4 million) for a systems upgrade.

Estimated passenger revenue rose by 9.8 percent in the final quarter, compared with 13.5 percent in third quarter, Flybe said.

"The period has been characterised by weak demand in an uncertain consumer environment, together with price competition arising from overcapacity amongst airlines and sharpened price activity from rail operators," Flybe said.

Operational cancellations and industrial action mainly by French air traffic controllers also hit revenue, the company said.

Flybe estimated slower year-on-year seat capacity growth of 10 percent for the fourth quarter from 12.7 percent in the third quarter.

Load factor is estimated to fall by around 1.4 percentage points in the three months to March 31, an improvement on the 1.7 percentage point fall in the previous quarter. ($1 = 0.8073 pounds) (Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Louise Heavens)

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