Air France-KLM Group reports a net profit in the third quarter

Air France-KLM Group issued this financial statement for the third quarter:

  •   Group revenues at €8.1bn, above 2019 level (+€503m)
  •   Group capacity at 89% of 2019 level with load factor at 88% close to 2019 level (90%)
  •   Operating result at €1,024m with operating margin at 12.6% above 2019 level (12.0%)
  •   Positive Adjusted operating free cash flow for the 6th quarter in a row at €290m
  •   Net debt down by €2.3bn euros, compared to end of 2021
  •   Return to positive operating result expected for Full Year above €900m1

    Commenting on the results, Mr. Benjamin Smith, Group CEO, said:

    “Thanks to solid preparation and to our agile approach to capacity, Air France-KLM was able to make the most of the strong travel demand this quarter. While the situation remains unsatisfactory in some key airports-, notably impacting KLM at its Amsterdam Schiphol hub, we saw significant improvements following the operational challenges that had erupted earlier this year. The Group posted a strong operating result in spite of rising fuel costs and inflation, and the Group remains confident in its ability to further increase capacity during the Winter season.

    I would like to thank all customers who chose to fly with us, and our employees who did their very best to welcome them at every step of their journey. Going forward we will continue to implement our transformation plan and accelerate our sustainability efforts, as illustrated by the recent signing of long-term SAF supply contracts. This reinforces our position as a responsible leader in transportation, as well as our commitment to being frontrunners in the decarbonization of our industry.”

    Strong improvement Third quarter revenues, operating result and marginIn the third quarter 2022, the Air France-KLM Group posted a positive operating result of 1,024 million euros, up by 897 million euros at a constant currency compared to last year. This increase was driven by an increase in capacity, load factor and yield.
    Net income amounted to 460 million euros in the third quarter 2022, an increase of 653 million euros compared to last year.

In the Third quarter Air France-KLM welcomed 25 million passengers which is 47.6% above the same quarter in previous year. As capacity increased by 29.1% and traffic increased by 70.7%, the load factor increased by 21.6 points compared to last year.
The passenger unit revenue per ASK of the Group increased by 52% against a constant currency compared to the third quarter 2021. This increase was driven by both load factor and yield.

The group unit cost per ASK at constant fuel and constant currency is up 1.8% versus the same quarter last year.

The unit cost is up 2.9% at a constant fuel price and constant currency (USD & related currencies only) versus the third quarter of 2019, with a capacity down by 11%. The ongoing transformation programs enable Air France-KLM to limit the impact of increasing costs such as airport and ATC charges, and the increase of labor cost at KLM.

Compared to September 2019, the number of Full Time Equivalents (FTE’s) at Air France, excluding Transavia France, decreased by 16% and by 11% at KLM.

In the third quarter staff costs decreased by 6% compared to the same quarter in 2019 thanks to FTE reduction.

Air France-KLM keeps redeeming liquidity support while maintaining a solid cash position

  •   In December 2021, Air France-KLM redeemed 0.5 billion euros of the outstanding 4 billion French State guaranteed loan provided by a syndicate of 9 Banks during Covid crisis (“PGE”).
  •   By the end of June 2022, KLM fully redeemed its RCF and Dutch State Loan for a total amount of 0.9 billion euros
  •   In November 2022 Air France-KLM will pursue deleveraging and reprofiling its unsecured debt and will proceed with the partial and early redemption of the “PGE”. The redemption amount will be 1.0 billion euros out of the 3.5 billion euros outstanding. The remaining bank loan profile will incur no further expected redemption till May 2024 and will remain unchanged beyond (till May 2025). As a result, the Group will reduce its overall financial charges and its exposure to floating rates.
  •   During 2022 and 2023, Air France-KLM will contemplate possible hybrid bonds issuances up to €1.2bn subject to market conditions
  •   The restoration of negative equity will be done through net profit generation and quasi- equity projects.

OUTLOOK

Context:

In the third quarter, Air France and KLM remained among the most active airlines to accommodate the travel recovery, with a capacity for Network passenger activity at index 85%, in line with the upper end of the guidance provided, meaning that the Group delivered according to its plan. Despite some isolated disruptions in Paris, operations were more robust in France than in other European countries while Schiphol remains in a challenging situation, in a context of a very tight labor market conditions, and imposed capacity restrictions to KLM.

Air France and KLM did their utmost to mitigate these challenges and continue to prioritise safeguarding the trust of their customers. For the third quarter, these disruptions resulted in 60 million euros additional compensation costs compared to the same quarter in 2019.

Capacity

Air France-KLM is confident that the recovery context will continue and therefore, the Group expects the capacity in Available Seat Kilometers for Air France-KLM Network passenger activity at an index of:

  •   Circa 85% for the fourth quarter of 2022
  •   Circa 80% for the Full Year 2022
  •   Circa 90% for the first quarter of 2023

    All indices compared to the respective period of 2019.

    The capacity of Transavia keeps on growing with Available Seat Kilometers expected at an index of circa 115 for the full year and at an index of circa 140 in both the fourth quarter 2022 and the first quarter 2023 compared to 2019.

    Yield

    The yield environment should remain healthy for the winter season with a solid demand in line with the capacity, resulting in yield levels above 2019.

    Expected operating result

    Above 900 million euros for Full Year 2022, based on fuel forward curve at 21 October 2022 and under currently foreseen circumstances.

    Cash

    As of September 30 2022, the Group has a strong 12.3 billion euros of liquidity and credit lines at its disposal.

    Full year 2022 Net Capex spending is estimated at circa 2.3 billion euros, which is 80% fleet & fleet related and 20% IT & Ground related.

Third quarter 2022 total revenues increased by 76.1% at constant currency to 6,907 million euros. The operating result amounted to 851 million euros, which represents an 863 million euros increase at constant currency compared to last year.

Strong summer demand resulting in high yield across the diversified network

Third quarter 2022 capacity in Available Seat Kilometers (ASK) was 29.3% higher than last year and at 85% of 2019 third quarter level, which was at the upper end of the Group’s guidance provided during the second quarter 2022 results presentation.

In response to the rise in fuel prices and other external costs, the Group proceeded to several fare increases during the first half of the year across all long-haul flights. The amount of the increase varied according to destination and class of travel, and applied to flights operated by Air France and KLM. Additionally, in line with the strong summer demand, the strong performance in Premium cabins and the solid corporate traffic recovery have all led to a yield above the 2019 level in the third quarter.

The third quarter result is driven by a strong performance of the entire network:

  •   North Atlantic: capacity was above 2019 thanks to a strong demand recovery. Yields were strongly up versus 2019 levels due to high demand, fare increases and a positive cabin mix.
  •   Latin America: capacity discipline on South America routes combined with a very resilient demand led to a strong yield.
  •   Asia: the strong yield performance is due to a limited capacity and the Group continues to observe significant differences between the regions. South East Asia and India showed positive dynamic in yield and traffic while China maintained its zero-Covid policy with severe travel restrictions.
  •   Middle-East: performance remained strong during the third quarter, especially on premium cabins and due to an increased traffic on some routes.
  •   Caribbean & Indian Ocean: the yields improved thanks to successive fare increases and a positive cabin mix effect.
  •   Africa: a strong corporate recovery was observed in all areas. For KLM, the performance was driven by East and South Africa with strong yield increase linked to positive cabin mix and a positive economy yield evolution. For Air France, performance was driven by West and Central African countries with a good steering strategy.
  •   Short and Medium-haul: strong booking dynamic since March. KLM is impacted by restrictions on flight departures from Amsterdam which led to traffic restriction. The yield is above 2019, especially on leisure routes with network capacity constraints and a positive competition environment.

    During the third quarter, Air France added one Airbus A350-900 and two Airbus A220-300 to its fleet. One B777-200, two Airbus A380-800, two Airbus A320, one Airbus A319, one Airbus A318 and two Canadair Jet 1000 left the fleet. KLM phased in one Embraer 195 E2. The Group will continue to introduce new generation aircraft to its fleet in order to improve its economic and environmental performance.

Cargo: Strong yield increase mitigates lower load factor

Compared to the third quarter of 2021, cargo capacity increased by 15.9% in Available Ton Kilometers, mainly due to the increase in worldwide belly capacity. Despite this increased belly capacity the overall traffic decreased by 13.5% and resulted in a drop in load factor of almost 16 points. Yields, however, remained at a consistently high level (+14% vs. 2021), leading to a third quarter total revenue performance close to last year’s level.

Compared to the pre-COVID year 2019, cargo capacity in the Third quarter was still 7% below. However, due to exceptional yield performance, total revenues in the Third quarter of 2022 were 61% higher compared to 2019.

Transavia: Significant increase in traffic resulted in a positive operating result

In the Third quarter of 2022, the demand recovery in leisure traffic in Europe and North Africa continued. Compared to last year, the capacity in the third quarter increased by 28.1%, traffic increased by 45.4%, and the number of passengers increased by 41.8%.

The operating result stood at 123 million euros and improved by 18 million euros compared to the third quarter of 2021.

Compared to the same quarter in 2019, the third quarter of 2022 showed activity levels at index 110 and a load factor slightly below 2019 levels. The average unit revenue per ASK increased by 18% compared to 2019, mainly driven by a strong yield increase of 23%. The average unit cost per ASK increased by 36% versus 2019, mainly driven by the high fuelprice and high disruption cost.

The fleet of Transavia reached 100 aircraft in the third quarter and supported to capture the strong demand of leisure traffic in Europe.

The third quarter operating result stood at 46 million euros, which represents an increase of 19 million euros at constant currency compared to the third quarter 2021 and is due to a higher activity and an operational improvement.

Total revenues increased by 17.4% in the third quarter while third party revenues increased by 38.6%, showing a strong recovery.
The operating margin stood at 5.6%, which is 1.5 points higher than the operating results in the third quarter 2021. The nine months year margin amounts to 5.7%, which is above the level of the pre-covid period but still included States supports.

Adjusted operating free cash flow positive in Q3 reducing the net debt slightly below €6bn

* Sum of ‘Purchase of property, plant and equipment and intangible assets’ and ‘Proceeds on disposal of property, plant and equipment and intangible assets’ as presented in the consolidated cash flow statement.
** The “Adjusted operating free cash flow” is operating free cash flow after deducting the repayment of lease debt.

The Group generated an adjusted operating free cash flow in the third quarter 2022 of 290 million euros, which is slightly higher than last year. This is the sixth quarter in a row that the adjusted operating free cash flow is positive.

Top Copyright Photo: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 737-800 WL PH-BCK (msn 62580) ZRH (Andi Hiltl). Image: 959255.

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