Air Southwest put up for sale

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Air Southwest has been put up for sale by its owner Sutton Harbour Holdings.

Announcing its annual results this morning, Sutton Harbour revealed record results in its regeneration and marine divisions, but a sharp fall in its transport sector.

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In his chairman’s statement, Michael Knight said: “To enable the Group to resource core activities more effectively the board has taken the decision to dispose the airline division Air Southwest.

“The Transport division has experienced a very difficult trading year. The very poor weather during December 2009 and January 2010 resulted in several days of cancelled services. These cancellations together with depressed revenues and the costs of starting the London City service in April 2009 meant losses progressed throughout the year to give a division result of £3.945 million loss (2009: £851,000 loss).

“Since the year end the closure of UK airspace due to Icelandic volcanic ash has further impacted the financial results of the division and this has influenced the board’s decision to withdraw the twice daily services to London City Airport from Plymouth and Newquay, to save costs. The route was popular for a segment of our customer base, but overall demand was insufficient to cover the high operating costs.”

Sutton Harbour Holdings will continue to operate Plymouth Airport, which it regards as part of a specialised asset portfolio.