Freight bounce for Air Partner

UK-based aviation charter specialist Air Partner saw full year group revenues fall 9.2 per cent to £192.1m and underlying profit before tax down from £4.1m to £2.6m for the twelve months ended January 2015.
However, investment in the freight division “has started to show returns with excellent improvements in sales and profits,” said Air Partner.
The freight division delivered an underlying operating profit of £400,000, a £500,000 turnaround on a £100,000 loss in the prior year.
Mark Briffa, chief executive of Air Partner, commented on the group performance: “This has proved to be a year of two very different halves, as reflected in the disappointing half-year results, which were lower than expected as a result of fewer material one-off contracts in our Commercial Jet division.
“However, the second half of the year delivered better results than anticipated helping us achieve a full year result ahead of revised expectations.”
In his review of the Air Partner’s individual divisions, Briffa added: “Over the past year, the freight division has seen year-on-year revenue and gross profit growth, reflecting new business wins generated by the investment made in skilled recruits. Our ability to attract and retain experienced sales people from competitors has certainly contributed to the strong results, with the division reporting a 105.4 per cent increase in revenue to £24.1m. 
“This led to a significant improvement in underlying operating profit from a loss of £0.1m in 2014 to a profit of £0.4m. Our Red Track technology, which aids our aircraft on ground (AOG) business, and the continuation of our work with government global aid agencies has helped to build strong relationships and a good  reputation with freight forwarders, key contributors to the turnaround we are seeing in the freight division.
“Freight remains an important part of Air Partner’s product offering; this represents a good example of where we have focused our energies and investments in order to replace and grow revenue and the results are encouraging.”
In his group statement, Richard Everitt, Air Partner chairman, said of the cargo charter arm: “The freight division showed strong improvement, albeit from a low base. The global economic downturn particularly affected aviation freight, and while we quickly adjusted the size of our freight team to reflect lower demand, we are pleased to see some momentum being built as the sector and economy starts to improve.
“Reflecting this gradual improvement, we added to our sales team in the division, and this, coupled with the Group’s strong brand and expertise in its sector, has translated into a good financial performance for the year.”

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