Flight Comeback Fuels Air France – KLM’s Return To Quarterly Core Profit – Todayuknews

Air France-KLM returned to core profits in the late summer, beating the Franco-Dutch airline group’s own expectations as passenger numbers almost doubled thanks to easing coronavirus travel curbs.

ts earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) reached €796m in July to September, it said on Friday, up from a loss of €442m in the same period of 2020.

The number of passengers booking flights over the three months close to doubled year-on-year to 16.9 million.

“We had guided for a positive EBITDA, but €800m exceeded our expectations,” finance chief Steven Zaat told journalists in a call.

Air France-KLM predicted that its EBITDA would land positive for the final quarter and “slightly” positive over the whole of 2021.

The group said it had seen a rapid pickup in bookings for November and the Christmas holidays, after the United States announced in September it would reopen its borders to fully vaccinated Europeans.

Autumn reopenings in Canada and Singapore further paved the way for recovery, said Mr Zaat, though long-haul business remained hampered by restrictions in Australia, China and Japan.

The group also whittled down its net debt to €8.1bn by the end of September, down €2.9bn from the end of 2020.

Air France-KLM last year received a total of €10.4bn in loans backed by France and the Netherlands, and has for months been discussing a recapitalisation plan to lighten the resulting debt load.

It said it had agreed to pay back €500m of a state-backed loan within the coming weeks, and the remaining €3.5bn in three instalments between 2023 and 2025.

The group said it was considering another rights issue under good market conditions, after a capital hike earlier in the year saw the French government more than double its stake to just under 30pc.

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