Despite increased revenue, Air Partner records loss in FY10

 - October 26, 2010, 11:21 AM

Stronger trading in the second half of the financial year ending on July 31, 2010, lifted revenues for UK-based charter brokering group Air Partner by 22.9 percent over 2009 levels to reach £230 million ($365.7 million). In financial results announced on October 12, costs of £4.4 million ($7 million) associated with the closure last March of its Private Jet Operating Company (PJOC) charter operations division, plus just over £700,000 ($1.1 million) in other restructuring expenses, dragged the company into a year-end loss of £1.65 million ($2.6 ­million). However, setting aside these discontinued businesses, an underlying, pre-tax profit of £3.5 million ($5.6 million) was achieved.

Air Partner's private jet brokering division (covering aircraft with fewer than 20 passenger seats) saw a 6-percent increase in sales to reach £41.4 million ($65.8 million)–18 percent of the group's total revenues. However, competitive pressure squeezed margins to just 1.6 percent–lower than the 3.3 percent achieved in the 2009 financial year. According to CEO Mark Briffa, the second half of the year just closed saw "strong signs of activity among high-net-worth individuals and within the entertainment industry." The company said its Jet Card block charter program has remained profitable and is now being expanded into the French, German and Italian markets. It claimed that ad hoc charter is benefitting from what it claimed to be "the demise of fractional ownership."

Meanwhile, former Air Partner CEO David Savile, who resigned in March after the planned closure of PJOC was announced, has resurfaced as the new chief executive of rival charter broker Starflight Aviation, based at the London-area Farnborough Airport.