Flybe plane
Flybe said it is confident of posting more growth over the upcoming 12 monthsGetty

Shares in Flybe rose almost 2% early on Thursday (9 June), after the UK regional airline posted an annual profit for the first time since it floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2010.

In the 12 months to the end of March, the London-listed company posted a pre-tax profit of £2.7m ($3.9m, €3.4m), compared with a £35.6m loss in the previous year. Helped by lower fuel prices, revenue grew 8.7% year-on-year to £623.8m, while cost per seat fell 4.2% compared to the corresponding period in 2015 to £52.67.

"This year was the second full year of our three-year transformation plan and our performance has been very encouraging," said group chief executive Saad Hammad.

"We achieved profitability for the first time as a public company, following losses in every year since Flybe's stock market flotation in 2010."

Hammad added the airline was confident of achieving further growth over the next 12 months: "We are pleased with this performance and confident that we are well placed to navigate the current industry challenges with the strongest balance sheet in our history and a disciplined organisation which is already taking cost and capacity actions to support profit growth in the coming year."

However, Flybe warned the environment "remains challenging", due to uncertainty over the outcome of the European Union referendum, the threats of terrorist attacks and industrial unrest in France.