VLM Airlines has unveiled its ninth consecutive year of profits. The carrier, which operates the largest number of flights from London City Airport, announced profit after tax of €3.2m for the year ending December 31st, 2006 - a sharp increase of 143 per cent from the previous year.
Turnover for the same period grew 12.5 per cent to €99.6m.
Pre-tax profit climbed 114 per cent to €4.4m, compared to €2.0m in 2005. The company’s total assets grew further by 17.2 per cent to €32.0m over the course of 2006, compared to €27.3m at the end of 2005. Cash reserves grew 62.7 per cent for the same period, to €11.3m.
The company’s operating expenses rose 10.9 per cent to €95.3m for the year, compared to €86.0m for the previous year, with the significantly higher cost of fuel being a key factor in this. However, a number of initiatives helped to offset these higher fuel costs, such as foreign currency hedging. For the 2006 financial year, some 75 per cent of VLM Airlines’ foreign exchange rate exposure was hedged, and this successful strategy will be continued in 2007.
VLM Airlines carried 681,751 passengers in 2006, a 9 per cent increase over 2005. The company expects this growth to continue, and forecasts that it will carry over 900,000 passengers in 2007.
To cater for this growth, VLM Airlines will introduce a jet aircraft to its fleet for the first time in April 2007, with the arrival of a BAe 146-300 aircraft. The 92-seat aircraft will be deployed on its London City - Rotterdam service, enabling it to meet increasing passenger demand on this fast-growing route. The carrier will also re-affirm its commitment to the Fokker 50, by adding a further two of the aircraft type throughout the course of 2007, taking its total Fokker 50 fleet to 21.
Jaap Rosen Jacobsen, Chairman of VLM Airlines, says: “Our strategy and business objectives have proven to be successful, and our service is appreciated by a growing number of loyal passengers - a fast and reliable, high frequency point-to-point service, which represents excellent value for money.”
“Our profit margin has grown, and both our solvency ratios and available cash reserves have increased, providing us with ample working capital and investment funds to continue to grow in 2007. Financial health and sustained profitability will remain a priority for VLM Airlines in the years ahead.”
Throughout 2006, VLM Airlines unveiled a number of highly successful initiatives including new routes from London City to Groningen (via Amsterdam), and from Manchester non-stop to Antwerp. Additional frequencies were introduced on a number of routes including London City - Amsterdam. In November 2006, VLM Airlines reached the significant milestone of operating more than 100 flights each weekday at London City Airport.
VLM Airlines enhanced its on-board product with the introduction of new, ergonomic and stylishly designed seats, combined with a revamped cabin. The airline also introduced a frequent flyer programme for the first time, VLM Encore, which offers passengers all the advantages of a high quality loyalty programme, but without the inconvenience of cards, high redemption levels and unobtainable free tickets. Over 20,000 customers have so far registered for this innovative loyalty scheme.