Air France-KLM posts record operating profit

24th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, May 24, 2007 (AFP) - Air France-KLM, the biggest European airline, posted Thursday a record operating profit and announced a major order for aircraft, including two more Airbus A380 superjumbo jets.

PARIS, May 24, 2007 (AFP) - Air France-KLM, the biggest European airline, posted Thursday a record operating profit and announced a major order for aircraft, including two more Airbus A380 superjumbo jets.

The carrier's operating profit leapt by 32.5 percent for the fiscal year that ended on March 31 to 1.24 billion euros (1.67 billion dollars), breaking through the billion euro mark for the first time on sales that climbed by 7.6 percent to 23 billion euros.

Net profit fell however by 2.4 percent to 891 million euros.

Air France chief executive Jean-Cyril Spinetta told a news conference the group expected to improve its operating profit during the current fiscal year, but did not provide details.

Shares in the airline jumped by 2.60 percent to 37.86 euros in afternoon trades on the Paris stock exchange, which was down by 0.60 percent overall.

Spinetta also said that Air France would order two more A380 aircraft from Airbus along with 30 medium range A320 jets and 18 long-range Boeing 777 planes.

The deals were worth around 7.0 billion dollars at catalogue prices but Air France is almost certain to have obtained a discount for such major orders.

The order of two more A380s "came within the framework of an agreement with Airbus concerning compensation for delivery delays" for the super jumbo jet that has been slammed by production problems.

Spinetta also said that Air France-KLM was not in discussions at present with Iberia, the Spanish airline for which British Airways and a consortium plan to make an offer.

He added that his group had "withdrawn from the Alitalia file" but did not rule out reopening it at some point in the future.

"European consolidation is not finished and we intend to be a part of it," the Air France chairman said.

The Italian government, which owns 49.9 percent of Alitalia, is looking for a buyer and wants to conclude a sale by the end of June.

Finally, referring to a so-called open skies agreement between Europe and the United States, Spinetta said he hoped to finalise a four-way project for service between the two continents that would include his group along with the US carriers Delta and Northwest.


Copyright AFP

SUbject: French news, Dutch news

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