Takeover target Signature Aviation today hailed its “resilient performance” in 2020 as the private jet firm swung to a $24m (£17.3m) loss before tax.
After the worst year in history for aviation, the company said that its flight activity was down just 17 per cent in February, compared to 77 per cent last April.
It said that group earnings had fallen 28 per cent over the year, from $482m to $351.6m, while statutory operating profit dropped to $104.6m, half of 2019’s take.
Mark Johnstone, Signature Aviation’s chief executive, said: “2020 was an extraordinary year for the Group, and one in which we delivered a resilient performance.
“We are encouraged by the extent of the recovery in flight operations we have seen since Spring 2020. However, the outlook remains uncertain and the recovery of activity in our North East region and EMEA, through both business and international travel, will be essential to deliver further progress.”
He warned that unlike in 2020 it was unlikely that the firm would receive additional US government funding or further rent rebates from airports.
Signature Aviation is currently awaiting shareholder approval for a takeover deal worth $5.62 per share from Global Infrastructure Partners, Blackstone and Bill Gates-owned Cascade.
The offer, which came at the end of a bidding war for the firm, values it at $4.7bn.
In order to be ratified, 75 per cent of shareholders need to approve the deal. If the threshold is met, the deal will close in the second quarter of 2021.