Austrian Airlines reports stable losses in first quarter

5th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

Austrian Airlines (AUA), owned by German flag carrier Lufthansa, reported stable first-quarter losses on Wednesday, but said it was on course to "sharply improved results" for the full year.

AUA, which was taken over by Lufthansa last year, said in a statement it booked an operating loss of 64.7 million euros (84 million dollars) in the period from January to March.

That was practically unchanged from a loss of 64 million euros in the first quarter of 2009.

Since being incorporated into the Lufthansa group and being de-listed from the Vienna stock exchange, AUA no longer publishes bottom-line net earnings on a quarterly basis.

Revenues were down slightly, slipping 1.9 percent to 448.4 million euros.

"Traditionally, the first quarter is relatively weak in the airline industry," AUA explained.

However, "from the second quarter onwards, the effects of the restructuring programme will become more noticeable in our results."

Passenger numbers actually increased in the January-March period, rising by 7.3 percent to 2.1 million, and the so-called load factor, which measures the number of seats filled on flights, rose by 4.6 percentage points to 72.9 percent.

"We are aiming to produce a powerful recovery in revenue for the full year," AUA said.

"Our goal is to achieve a positive cash flow and to sharply reduce the loss from operating activities compared to last year."

In 2009, AUA narrowed its year-end loss to 325.9 million euros on revenues of 1.96 billion euros.

"We are on course. We are consistently implementing our programme of restructuring, and will sharply improve the result this year," said the airline's co-chairmen, Andreas Bierwirth and Peter Malanik.

© 2010 AFP

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