Air France earnings fall

Air France-KLM CEO Ben Smith has pledged to pursue an “ambitious and innovative” strategy after the carrier posted lower earnings in its first set of results under his leadership.

The group reported an operating profit of €1.07bn, 6.7pc lower than last year, according to its third quarter results released yesterday.

During the period its unit costs reduced 1pc in constant currency. Net debt at the airline reduced by €222m to €6.3bn in the nine months since 31 December 2017. The net debt-to-earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation ratio remained stable at 1.4 times.

“Air France-KLM posted a solid performance in the summer quarter 2018, reflecting the commitment of all its staff, its commercial strengths and the attractiveness of its brands,” Mr Smith said. “I am confident that we will be able to leverage our group’s strengths and assets to build an ambitious and innovative strategy to ensure the success of our airlines and reposition Air France-KLM as the leader of our industry.”

The airline said that it its passenger network revenues to increase in the fourth quarter of 2018, with long-haul forward booking load factors ahead of last year.