May. 19 - Europe's largest airline by revenue, Air France-KLM posted a full-year operating profit of 122 million euros, helped by a recovery in passenger travel, cargo operations and cost cutting. Hayley Platt reports.
A recovery in air travel and cost cutting has helped boost profits at Europe's largest airlines by revenue. Air France-KLM reported a full-year operating profit of 122 million euros. Like other airlines they suffered from the slump in air travel following the financial crisis of 2008. The airline said cost cutting and a stronger than expected recovery in its cargo operations have helped them. But they said the cost of fuel was still a concern. Aviation expert Peter Morris from Ascend agrees. SOUNDBITE: Peter Morris, chief economist, Ascend, saying (English): "The thing that nobody's been able to do anything about is the kind of price rises that have been caused by fuel prices, fuel price having risen back from the days of 2003 of being about a dollar a gallon now up at $3 has been at $4 has been as low a $2 but around $3 dollars a gallon it's a challenge for the airlines to make money." Morris also says airlines could save money by using greener aircraft. SOUNDBITE: Peter Morris, chief economist, Ascend, saying (English): "If you use the most efficient aircraft then as a consequence you get the lowest cost per seat and it is a differentiator. What you see with airlines that operate, old airlines particularly in the US, they face a very challenging time when fuel prices go up." The Franco-Dutch group says it's now in a better position to navigate its way through an uncertain economic climate, hampered by political instability in the Middle East and volatile oil prices. Hayley Platt, Reuters.