Flybe , Europe's largest regional airline, reported a higher first-half profit, but said trading conditions remained tough and forward ticket sales for winter were lower year-over-year.

Seats flown were up 3 percent at 6.4 million in the first half, but down more than 1 percent excluding the impact of last year's volcanic ash disruption.

A number of airlines suffered last year after being hit by disruptions caused by ash from volcanic eruptions in Iceland.

In October, the company issued a profit warning saying there was a significant slowdown in sales across its UK domestic network in September.

Flybe, which operates 83 aircraft from 14 UK airport bases, on Wednesday posted a first-half profit of 14.3 million pounds, compared with 8.2 million pounds last year.

Revenue increased about 6 percent to 341.6 million pounds.

The company's shares, which have lost about 80 percent of their value since it went public last December, were up 0.7 percent at 68.5 pence at 8:22 a.m. on the London stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Suzannah Benjamin in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)