Winter price cuts cause loss

Ryanair Holdings, Europe’s biggest discount airline, posted a third-quarter loss yesterday after it cut ticket prices in the face of increased competition during winter. The net loss for the three months to December was e35.2 million (R531m), compared with a profit of e18.1m a year earlier. Analysts had estimated a loss of e32m. Ryanair has responded to the tougher pricing environment by trimming its fares on almost 1 000 routes and grounding about 70 jets to take capacity out of the market. The measures helped boost passenger numbers 6 percent to 18.3 million in the quarter, while non-ticket revenue jumped 13 percent as more customers paid for services such as reserved seats and priority boarding. – Bloomberg


Turnaround gathers pace

British carrier Flybe Group reported a fall in third-quarter cost per seat in the UK and said it would cut fewer jobs than planned, in a sign its turnaround plan is gathering pace. The company weathered a turbulent 2013, marked by large job cuts, a new chief executive, the resignation of four board members, and the airline’s biggest shareholder dumping its entire stake. Flybe, whose investors include billionaire financier George Soros, has been looking to reduce costs by cutting jobs, giving up airport slots, dropping unprofitable flight routes and grounding surplus fleet. Flybe said yesterday that it was working to lower the cost of grounding some of its fleet. – Reuters