Strong start to the year for Air Partner following a tough 2019

By Damian Brett

Charter broker Air Partner saw profits and revenues decline last year but is expecting a busy 2020 as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Announcing results for the year ending January 31, the company saw full-year revenues decline 13.9% year on year to £66.7m, gross profit was down 3.7% to £34.2m and profits before tax slipped 27.6% to £4.2m.

The company said its charter division had a mixed performance, impacted by Brexit, a late UK election and the lack of a one-off event requiring urgent action.

Group charter and freight were down 5.1% and 34.7% respectively and private jets up 12.5%, driven by US performance.

During the year, the company acquired aviation security solutions and training company Redline Worldwide.

However, looking ahead, the company said it is trading ahead of budget as a result of the coronavirus outbreak and resultant demand for air cargo charter flights.

Mark Briffa, chief executive of Air Partner, said: “Trading in the current financial year reflects the impact of Covid-19. Our immediate focus has been the safety of our team and other stakeholders.

“We have seen unusually high levels of activity in freight and group charter, and a significant decline in safety & security and private jets.

“We are trading considerably ahead of budget for May and the forward order book is also encouraging for June, with demand for freight and group charter services remaining high.

“However, visibility beyond this point is currently limited. Covid-19 is materially impacting economies globally, making it very hard to judge what the impact will be beyond the current emergency flying we are carrying out.

“As a result, we have taken prudent measures to preserve cash and maintain our working capital as we manage the business through the crisis and better understand the longer-term implications on sales.

“While there are undoubtedly challenges still to come, we have enjoyed a strong start to the current year and have the benefit of a well-diversified business, anchored by a great team of people, whom I would like to thank for their extraordinary efforts at this difficult time.”

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