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2017-10-23
Small Planet Airlines grows revenue by more than half in 2017 H1
Lithuanian leisure carrier’s Small Planet Airlines revenue kept growing in the first half of 2017, reaching 118.1 million EUR – a 63.2% increase compared to the same period in 2016. Passenger flow grew by one-third and reached 871 000.

At the same time, the airline made a loss of 10.2 million EUR. This happened due to considerable investments in improving its on-time performance as well as hiring and training a growing number of crews. According to company’s 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 EUR by the end of 2017, with planned profit reaching 5-6 million EUR. The passenger flow should grow up to nearly 2.7 million by the end of the year.

“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 stabilizing our operations and optimizing processes, and next year we plan to move full speed ahead. Our fleet in Europe should grow by 5 additional aircraft”, says Small Planet Airlines CEO Kristijonas Kaikaris.

To mitigate flight delays, Small Planet Airlines dedicated 2 aircraft as stand-by units for smooth operations during the busy Summer season. As a result, only 1.59% of flights were delayed by 3 hours or more, compared to 6.27% during the same period in 2016.

Another highlight of the first half-year were successful projects in Saudi Arabia, India and Cambodia – for the first time in 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 Kristijonas 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 cooperation 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.