Air France shows profits surge despite fuel costs

16th February 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 16, 2006 (AFP) - Air France-KLM reported on Thursday that operating profit in the first nine months of its financial year had surged by 76.5 percent to EUR 940 million, saying that strong traffic had outweighed high fuel costs.

PARIS, Feb 16, 2006 (AFP) - Air France-KLM reported on Thursday that operating profit in the first nine months of its financial year had surged by 76.5 percent to EUR 940 million, saying that strong traffic had outweighed high fuel costs.

The operating margin rose by 2.2 percentage points to 5.8 percent.

In the third quarter, net profit more than tripled from the equivalent figure in the previous year to EUR 77 million from EUR 23 million on a 12.4 percent increase in sales to EUR 5.43 billion.

The airline said that activity in the fourth quarter of its financial year was usually weak owing to seasonal factors, and said that it expected operating profit for the whole of its 2005-2006 financial year to exceed EUR 900 million from EUR 534 million in the previous year.

In the third quarter, operating profit had risen to EUR 190 million from EUR 20 million 12 months earlier, owing partly to efficient hedging of fuel costs.

The airline said that in the third quarter fuel costs had risen by 27.4 percent on a 12-month comparison to EUR 1 billion, and that in the first nine months the fuel bill had risen by 30 percent to EUR 2.72 billion, owing to the rise of oil prices and despite heavy hedging on financial markets.

But from October to the end of December, passenger traffic had continued to be "dynamic", rising by 11 percent. Capacity had increased by 7.6 percent.

The airline had achieved a record rate of occupancy on its aircraft, which had risen by 2.4 percentage points to 80.1 percent. Unit fares had held up well and freight activity had shown an encouraging recovery.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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