Small Planet Airlines records 63% revenue growth in H1 2017
Lithuanian leisure carrier’s Small Planet Airlines revenue kept growing in the first half of 2017, reaching €118.1 million – a 63.2 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2016. Passenger flow grew by one-third and reached 871,000.
However, at the same time the airline made a loss of €10.2 million – due to considerable investments in improving its on-time performance as well as hiring and training a growing number of crews, stated the company. According to its executives, the loss is only a temporary side effect created by the seasonality in aviation. Small Planet Airlines expects to reach a consolidated revenue level of €286 million by the end of 2017, with planned profit reaching €5-6 million. The passenger flow should grow up to nearly 2.7 million by the end of the year.
New fleet additions planned
“Investments and focus on increasing on-time performance paid off accordingly – August 2017 was the most profitable month in the history of our company. We devoted the year 2017 to stabilising our operations and optimising processes, and next year we plan to move full speed ahead. Our fleet in Europe should grow by five additional aircraft,” said Small Planet Airlines CEO, Kristijonas Kaikaris.
To mitigate flight delays, Small Planet Airlines dedicated two aircraft as stand-by units for smooth operations during the busy summer season. As a result, only 1.59 per cent of flights were delayed by three hours or more, compared to 6.27 per cent during the same period in 2016.
More block hours in Asia than Europe
Another highlight of the first half-year were successful projects in Saudi Arabia, India and Cambodia – for the first time in the company’s history, its aircraft operated more block hours in Asia than in Europe. Asian projects proved to be of major importance for increased financial sustainability of Small Planet Airlines. With the recent acquisition of the Cambodian Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC), the company expects to continue growing its presence in Asia. This winter, five aircraft will be transferred to Cambodia. The airline will also continue its winter-season operations in India.
According to Mr Kaikaris, pilot shortage remains a significant challenge for the growing airline. “We have recently seen that a global shortage of pilots affects even the largest players in the market. Our planned growth increasingly depends on our ability to hire the necessary number of crews. We are combating this challenge by starting the recruitment process earlier than before. Furthermore, we have created an inside talent programme and increased co-operation with flight-academies, guaranteeing jobs for future pilots at Small Planet Airlines.”
Currently, Small Planet Airlines’ fleet consists of 22 Airbus aircraft – 18 A320s and 4 A321s. The airline will continue to operate from Lithuanian, Polish, German, French and Dutch bases during the winter period, flying travellers to popular holiday destinations in the Canary Islands, Egypt, and European skiing resorts.