U.K.-based Air Partner has ridden a COVID-19 boom in group charters and freight to record profits for the first half of its financial year, according to unaudited results released ahead of the trading day this morning in London.
Mark Briffa, the CEO, said in written comments, “This has been the busiest time we have ever encountered as a business, and this is reflected in our record half-year trading performance.”
He added, “We have always prided ourselves on our ability to provide quick, reliable and effective support to our customers in times of crisis, and we are pleased that we could play an important role during this very challenging time, particularly with regards to emergency evacuations and PPE flying.”
However, the company’s results shouldn’t be seen as any indication for the private aviation sector.
Briffa noted, “Group Charter and Freight have been the standout performers, while other areas, such as Private Jets and some parts of Safety & Security, have been severely impacted by the pandemic, although activity levels in our core business are gradually starting to return. This mixed performance has served to reinforce the importance and value of our diversification strategy, which ensures that we are not reliant on any one revenue stream.”
That said, among the highlights, jet card sales increased by 50% over the previous period.
Additionally, Briffa noted, “We were pleased to be oversubscribed in our fundraising in June 2020, through which we raised £7.5m. This, in addition to the numerous cost-saving measures that we implemented in the early stages of the pandemic, means we entered the second half of the year with no debt and good working capital to invest in new organic growth initiatives. While there is undoubtedly much uncertainty ahead for us all, and our visibility for H2 remains unsurprisingly limited, the Board is confident that the business is well placed to weather the ongoing economic storm and take advantage of any suitable opportunities that arise.”
Assessing the results, Gert Zonneveld, an analyst with Canaccord Genuity said, “So far H2 activity levels in Group Charter and Freight have fallen from those in H1, although spikes in demand may return as a result of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. The private jet activity should continue its gradual recovery, especially in the US where corporates and high net worth individuals are looking for commercial aviation alternatives. The challenging environment for S&S is likely to continue for now.”