Airberlin narrows its second quarter loss

Airberlin (airberlin.com) (Berlin) narrowed its second quarter loss to 8.1 million euros ($10.8 million), down from a loss of 29.4 million euros for the same quarter a year ago. The airline has been downsizing, eliminating 300 positions.

The company issued this statement:

In the second quarter of 2013, Airberlin improved its operating result (EBIT) despite a difficult market environment. Airberlin was able to increase EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) to EUR -8.1 million, an improvement of two-thirds over the corresponding quarter of 2012 (EUR -29.4 million). EBITDAR (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization, and leasing expenses and rentals) increased by 12 percent to EUR 166.4 million (2012: EUR 148.0 million). Despite a noticeable eight percent capacity reduction, Airberlin’s total revenue at EUR 1.11 billion remained at the level of the previous year (EUR 1.13 billion). Airberlin reduced its net loss for the second quarter to EUR -38.0 million, an improvement of almost two-thirds over the previous year’s corresponding quarter (EUR -99.8 million).

Increased capacity utilization, RASK and Yield

In the second quarter, Airberlin further increased its capacity utilization, revenue per available seat kilometer (RASK) and revenue per passenger. The number of routes flown in the second quarter decreased from 520 in 2012 to 440 in the current year, while the number of route frequencies increased by 14 percent. Capacity utilization increased by four percentage points, to 83.7 percent (previous year: 79.7 percent). Revenue per available seat kilometer (RASK) increased by 4.8 percent to 7.20 Eurocents (previous year: 6.87 Eurocents). Average yield (revenue per passenger) increased to EUR 113.74 (previous year: EUR 112.85).

Presenting the second quarter results for 2013, Airberlin’s CEO Wolfgang Prock-Schauer comments: “An improved operating income, increased capacity utilization, increasing revenue per seat kilometer and stable revenue despite capacity reduction, demonstrate that important key numbers are moving in the right direction. The positive effects of our Turbine program will bear fruit later in the year. As a result of the generally muted economic conditions and the market environment, the ability to reach our targets is becoming increasingly challenging.”

Turbine implementation according to plan

The implementation of Turbine is continuously progressing according to plan, and will due to increasing challenges continue to be advanced as a matter of priority over the course of the year. The focus remains on increasing efficiency, expanding services, and negotiating with relevant stakeholders.

Airberlin has concluded new collective labor agreements with all relevant employees. This is the first time that uniform collective labor agreements have been concluded for all pilots and respectively for all cabin crew. These long-term collective agreements enable planning reliability and give Airberlin the required flexibility for further restructuring and increasing productivity. Personnel cutbacks are proceeding as planned, and by the end of July, Airberlin had eliminated 300 full-time positions.

Wolfgang Prock-Schauer comments: “The Turbine program is progressing as planned. The negotiations with our contracting partners have yielded productive results, and we are continuously optimizing our structure and our operating performance. More than 80 percent of the Turbine program’s planned contribution for 2013 has already been attained, with respect to both earnings and costs. Despite the challenging environment, we continue to strive to reach the target figure of EUR 200 million for 2013. For the coming winter flight plan, we will implement a streamlined concept of aircraft-positioning, in order to use our fleet even more efficiently.”

Improved liquidity

At the end of the first half-year, Airberlin had liquid assets amounting to EUR 436.8 million at its disposal, those assets having grown by more than one-third from EUR 315 million in the first half-year of 2012. Equity capital at the end of the traditionally weak first half-year amounted to EUR -116.3 million as at the reporting date of 30 June. As a valuation at the reporting date according to IFRS, equity capital has no impact on the economic operation of the company.

Airberlin’s Chief Financial Officer Ulf Hüttmeyer explains: “The traditionally weak earnings position in the first six months together with the non-recurring charges stemming from our turnaround program lead to negative equity capital. We expect the equity capital to increase over the following quarters. The target of reaching an equity capital ratio of 15 to 20 percent in the medium-term remains unchanged.”

Partnerships exceed expectations

In the second quarter, the strategic partnership with Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) again delivered strong growth in the number of Airberlin passengers stemming from the code-share flights. The number of passengers more than tripled from 75,000 in 2012 to 267,000, based on a half-year comparison. With 449,000 passengers – this includes bookings made through July – the expectations for the entire year for the common code-share routes of Etihad Airways and Airberlin have already been exceeded. Furthermore, Airberlin is benefitting from code-share agreements with partners of Etihad Airways’ “Equity Alliance”, including Virgin Australia, Air Seychelles and Air Serbia. Airberlin and Etihad Airways are also expanding their cooperation in other fields such as maintenance and procurement.

The number of passengers traveling on oneworld® alliance flights likewise exceeded expectations. In the first half of the year, 267,000 passengers had already traveled on code-share flights operated by Airberlin and its oneworld partners.

Read the analysis by Reuters: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Pedro Pics/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-7Q8 D-ABBW (msn 30642) taxies at London (Stansted).

Airberlin: AG Slide Show