Air France-KLM: business travel is gaining momentum

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Similar to what other airlines have reported, Air France-KLM’s first quarter start has been hampered by the effects of the omicron variant of Covid-19, particularly on short- and medium-haul routes, a the company reported Thursday. The outbreak of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine caused fuel prices to rise and reservations to slow for a short time. But March turned out to be “very encouraging”, according to the company.

“Despite the difficult context, … the Group is once again posting a positive balance sheet [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization] and recorded strong bookings for the following quarters,” Benjamin Smith, CEO of Air France-KLM, said in a statement. [visiting friends and relatives] request through our global network.”

Business travel demand “skyrocketed” in the quarter to around 70% recovery from 2019 levels, according to a company presentation which also showed that the long-haul and small and Air France-KLM medium-sized companies recorded solid performances.

Air France-KLM announced first quarter capacity of 75% of 2019 levels for the same period with a yield above 2019 levels. The long-haul load factor in March was 80% for premium and economy classes -more. The company also posted revenue of 4.5 billion euros ($4.7 billion), which more than doubled from the previous year, and a net loss of 552 million euros. ($580 million).

The company said total passengers in the first quarter rose more than 200% year-on-year to just over 14.5 million. Capacity increased 67.8% year-on-year to just over 58,000 available seat-kilometres.

Like Lufthansa, which also released its first-quarter results on Thursday, the company’s fuel costs accelerated significantly in the quarter, rising 115% year-on-year to 996 million euros ( $1.05 billion).

Air France-KLM’s capacity outlook is between 80% and 85% for the second quarter and between 85% and 90% for the third quarter, compared to their respective periods in 2019.

RELATED: Air France-KLM fourth quarter 2021 results

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