Flybe Cuts Sales-Growth Estimate on Impact of Economy, Olympics

Flybe Group Plc (FLYB), Europe’s biggest regional airline, said full-year sales will grow no more than 2 percent, less than previously predicted, clipped by a sluggish European economy and disruption from the royal Jubilee celebrations and the 2012 Olympics Games.

Flybe revised its outlook after demand for business flights from Britain to continental Europe showed “signs of weakeness” in the fiscal first quarter ended June 30, it said today in a statement. After four years of declines, the U.K. domestic market showed evidence of stabilizing before slipping back into a 3 percent decline in June versus a year earlier.

“2012/13 is proving to be another very challenging year in the European regional aviation sector with continued weak consumer markets and stubbornly high oil prices,” Chief Executive Officer Jim French said in the statement. “We remain cautious over the outlook and do not expect a material recovery in either consumer or business confidence in the short term.”

Flybe will seek to keep unit-cost increases to within 1 percent of last year’s level, excluding fuel expenses. Further savings will be achieved through capacity management and reduced supplier costs, with an update to be provided on Sept. 30.

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