KLM reports an operating loss of EUR 185 million in the 2Q

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines issued this report for the second quarter:

In the second quarter of 2021, KLM reported an operating loss of EUR 185 million, compared to a loss of EUR 493 million in the same period last year, when the coronavirus pandemic was at its height. Second quarter revenues this year amounted to EUR 1,207 million, compared to EUR 701 million in 2020.

Although the results for the period indicate a clear improvement compared to 2020, they are far behind pre-pandemic figures. Nevertheless, these results constitute a significant impulse on the road to recovery.

During the first half of 2021, KLM incurred an operating loss of EUR 522 million, with revenues amounting to EUR 2,137 million. In the first half of 2020, KLM incurred a loss of EUR 768 million, with revenues amounting to 2,841 million.

Our successful focus on cost control and our network strategy, to keep serving as many destinations as possible, compensated somewhat for the negative financial results of our passenger business.

We welcomed 3.7 million passengers in the first six months of 2021. That is a lot lower than the 6.7 million passengers we carried in the first half of 2020, although it bears mentioning that business remained relatively normal for the first two months of 2020, after which operations shut down almost entirely.

The maintenance division has also experienced the impact of delayed recovery, with revenues from third-party contracts down 49% to EUR 225 million. Our cargo business was strong once more, with revenues up 57% to EUR 974 million.

Adjusted travel measures in Europe positive for customers
Recovery was delayed and did not take place as anticipated, only materializing in the first half of 2021, with the coronavirus pandemic coming in waves, accompanied by strict travel restrictions, including compulsory tests for transfer passengers in the Netherlands. This caused uncertainty among customers with regard to booking. Moreover, the strict entry restrictions imposed by many Asian countries and the restrictions on Europeans traveling to the United States remain in force.

It is positive that the Dutch government will change its policy on travel within Europe effective 8 August. This offers our Dutch customers greater certainty and ensures that travel options are less dependent on changes in the number of infections.

The need for harmonization of travel regulations within Europe remains essential. Our customers need clarity and predictability.

The crisis at KLM has offered fertile ground for innovation, as exemplified by our Upload@Home service, which enables customers to check their coronavirus-related documentation ahead of departure to a growing array of destinations.

Our results for the first half of 2021 are rather chequered, but the first signs of recovery are becoming clear. Especially during the first months of the year, recovery in overall passenger traffic was hampered by delays. At the same time, our cargo results have remained strong and we have focused on cost control, benefited from state support programs (NOW), and we saw European passenger traffic recovering at the start of summer. The coronavirus pandemic has lasted longer and been more unpredictable than anticipated. It is therefore even more important to remain agile and innovative. We are achieving this, among other things, by expanding our network with destinations where we expect to see demand recovering first.
The agility, resilience and wide array of initiatives that KLM staff have demonstrated and undertaken in the past six months have helped to contain losses. In addition, we are pursuing investment in digitization, customer service, sustainability and product to ensure that KLM is ever-ready on the road to recovery.”
KLM President & CEO Pieter Elbers