Exeter airline Flybe profits hit by volcano ash
Disruption caused by Iceland's volcanic ash cloud and freezing winter weather helped push Exeter-based airline Flybe into making a loss over the last year.
The company made a pre-tax loss of £4.3m, compared with a profit of £24.6m the previous year.
The effects of the ash cloud and snow in December cost £18.1m said the firm.
The eruption of the volcano in April 2010, which affected flights in northern Europe, forced Flybe to cancel 3,177 flights.
It was also hit by a slump in demand from leisure passengers as a result of falling consumer confidence although travel by business customers held up.
The airline, which plans to expand into new European markets, expects to make pre-tax profits of about £22m in the current year.
The airline is introducing a fuel surcharge of £3 in September to help it deal with higher costs.
Chief executive Jim French said he was very pleased with the results in what had been a challenging time for airlines.
Shares were up 7% after Flybe confirmed it was in talks with other overseas airlines in Europe about the possibility of acquisitions, taking part in joint-ventures or using its expertise to help them expand.