Air Partner plc ('Air Partner' or 'Group'), the global aviation services group, today provides a trading update for the year ended 31 January 2019.
Our Charter division has performed well in the year. Across our product portfolio we have seen a strong performance in Freight and Commercial Jets, and a flat performance in Private Jets, albeit with JetCard reporting a double-digit increase in customer numbers.
Our Consulting & Training division has maintained a strong pipeline and product offering through the year. We have won a number of new contracts in Training, Consulting, Fatigue Risk Management and Wildlife Hazard Management, which will further support the growth of this division in the years ahead. We continue to see good results from teamwork between Charter and C&T, which leverages the Group’s full capabilities.
The Board expects to announce underlying profit before tax of not less than £5.8m for the 12 months to 31 January 2019. This performance comes despite the challenges faced in the first half of the year, and the prioritised investment to address issues arising from the previously announced accounting review, with the strengthening of the finance function being the most tangible example of this. In addition, a new office was opened in Los Angeles, and headcount was increased in our New York office; both locations are performing in line with expectations.
In line with our clear growth strategy, the Board continues to assess investment opportunities, both organic and acquisition, to enhance or extend the service and capabilities we offer our customers, which will ultimately strengthen and advance our business. During the current financial year we have already opened offices in Houston and Singapore, and plan to increase headcount in Baines Simmons overseas, co-locating in existing Group offices in order to leverage our fixed cost base. This will enhance and support our business development activities bringing new customers to the division. These strategic investments have the potential to make a significant contribution to the Group in the long term.
As we always state, the global charter business has consistently been, and will continue to be, a volatile industry. Against this backdrop, we manage the business for the long term, with a very clear strategy of alignment to the needs of our global customer base. We have a strong portfolio of global aviation services, which provides us with exposure to various sectors and geographies, and our portfolio approach, without any single product or market dominance, often enables us to limit the impact of such volatility.
On completion of the audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, our newly appointed auditors, we look forward to announcing our results for the year ended 31 January 2019 on Thursday 9 May 2019. A detailed update on the business performance will be provided with the full year results.
Mark Briffa, CEO commented: “This is a robust performance for the 12 months ended 31 January 2019 despite the challenges we faced in the early part of the year with the accounting review. I would like to express my sincerest thanks to our customers for their continued support and the business they entrust us with, and to my colleagues for their unwavering focus and dedication to customer service.
Our shareholders would expect me to be no more than quietly confident at the start of a new year, and this year is no different. Aviation can be both challenging and exciting, but we have never been more aligned to our customers in our near 60 year history than today, and our clear long-term strategy is delivering results and opportunities. We have withstood an unwelcome and costly event, but have now started the new financial year with an exciting strategic outlook and growth plans to take the Group forward.”
This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of Regulation (EU) NO 596/2014).