Air France - KLM losses mount as travel industry continues to struggle

SCHIPHOL - Air France KLM suffered a net loss of 1.5 billion euros in the first quarter of this year. Revenue also fell by more than half during that time, and the number of passengers fell by three-quarters compared to a year ago.

“A year into the COVID crisis, lockdown measures and travel restrictions in our home markets and around the world continue to strongly impact the Group’s activity,“ the company stated in a press release.

Due to international travel still being largely halted amid the coronavirus pandemic, the number of travelers that booked a journey with the company decreased to just 4.8 million, in comparison to 18 million in the same period last year. Financial results at the group in the first quarter of 2020 suffered greatly as the parent company's airlines began shutting down routes to China at the end of January, six weeks before entry bans and a freeze on air traffic took hold during the first wave of the coronavirus crisis.

"Swift implementation of the vaccination schedule is essential for travel to resume. Until such time as this is achieved, it is important to continue with effective, targeted measures," said Pieter Elbers, the head of Dutch flag carrier KLM.

Air France-KLM plans to operate a total of 50% of its pre-pandemic flight schedule for the quarter ending on June 30. This should rise to between 55 and 65 percent in the third quarter of the year.

“The success of the first set of capital-strengthening measures completed in April, allows us to look forward to the summer season with greater confidence, hoping that the progress of the vaccination roll-out worldwide and the implementation of travel passes will allow borders to reopen and traffic to recover,“ the parent company stated.

Air France has now secured 4 billion euros in new government funding since the beginning of April. A quarter of this is made up of new shares issued by France. The Netherlands decided to opt-out of the agreement explaining the situation at KLM was less severe.

Last year, the Netherlands and France supported the holding company with €10.4 billion in loans and guarantees.

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