VLM Airlines, a regional carrier operating out of London City Airport, has reported net income of €3.6 million ($5.5 million) for 2007, up 13.3% over €3.2 million earned in 2006. This is the regional carrier's tenth consecutive profitable year.
VLM has been taken over by the Air France-KLM group early on in the year. The acquisition, which still needs to be approved by the competition authorities in EU and other countries, will have no effect on the name and branding of VLM Airlines, according to airline officials.
The deal, if approved, will see the Air France-KLM group become dominant at London City Airport, where VLM has its major hub and Air France operates several services under the Cityjet banner.
Revenue for the airline was up 12.6% to €112.5 million, while expenses increased 11.6% to €106.8 million. Operating income of €5.7 million was up 33.9% over €4.3 million in the previous year.
VLM noted that it has "almost doubled in size over the last five years" and also conceded that its larger size has affected its strong service reputation. MD Johan Vanneste acknowledged "our punctuality and reliability have suffered both from the success and popularity of our services and, more specifically, the recent lack of capacity at London City Airport [where it is the largest carrier]. Resolving this will be a priority for us in 2008…"
The airline said that a large expansion programme at the end of 2006, when it added four aircraft to its fleet and also expanded the number of new services and additional frequencies on existing routes, matured in 2007 and have contributed to the increase in revenue.
Charter revenue also grew by 28 per cent in the year, compared to 2006, as the airline was successful in penetrating the French charter market for 50 seat aircraft.
VLM Airlines carried a total of 745,781 passengers in 2007 - a 9 per cent increase over 2006. The number of passengers using the airline's charter and wet lease flights increased sharply by 62 per cent to 48,000.
VLM Airlines commenced operations in May 1993 with a scheduled non-stop service between Antwerp and London City Airport. Today, fourteen years later, VLM Airlines offers more flights from London City Airport than any other carrier, with regular weekday services to Amsterdam, Antwerp, Brussels, Groningen, Isle of Man, Jersey,
Luxembourg, Manchester and Rotterdam.
It also offers daily flights from Rotterdam to Hamburg and direct flights every weekday from Antwerp and Rotterdam to Manchester. Charter flights to a wide variety of destinations within Europe are also available.
In 2006 VLM Airlines reported its ninth consecutive year of profitability. The airline currently employs 425 people, and carried over 682,000 passengers in 2006.