Coronavirus provokes steep losses at Air France-KLM
PARIS — Air France-KLM Thursday posted sharply higher first-quarter losses as the coronavirus pandemic trampled on global travel.
The airline group said it had suffered a net loss of 1.8 billion euros ($1.94 billion) in the first three months of the year, more than five times its 324-million-euro loss in the first quarter of 2019.
Air France-KLM highlighted 455 million euros in fuel purchases that were never used because of the pandemic.
The first-quarter result underscored the effect of the virus crisis in March.
Th group noted “a strong performance at the start of the year with passenger unit revenue up 0.8 percent” at the end of February.
“March 2020 however was strongly impacted by the expansion of the virus and consequential globally imposed travel restrictions to counter the spread of the Covid-19 virus.”
The group, which is to benefit from 7.0 billion euros in French state aid along with several billion euros in aid from the Dutch government, said its capacity had fallen by 10.5 percent in the quarter.
It predicted “a progressive lifting of border restrictions in 2020, enabling a slow capacity resumption” in the summer, but also “a prolonged negative impact on passenger demand, not expected to recover to pre-crisis levels before several years.”
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