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Air France-KLM Shares Sink As Travel Chaos Darkens Outlook

By Dave Simpson

Air France-KLM cut its capacity forecast and its Dutch arm warned of losses due to prolonged curbs on flights at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport, prompting a major share sell-off.

Details

Air France-KLM and Aer Lingus-owner IAG beat earnings expectations for the seasonally strongest third-quarter, while Finland's national carrier, Finnair, reported its first positive quarter since the pandemic took hold in 2020.

But the region's airlines are struggling with staff shortages and labour disputes as cabin crews and pilots demand better working conditions and higher wages to offset inflation.

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Schiphol, one of Europe's busiest airports, said in September daily passenger numbers would be reduced by around a fifth until at least March 2023 to guarantee the safety of passengers and employees, forcing KLM to limit ticket sales for the coming winter.

The Dutch airline, the main carrier at Schiphol, has faced sharp cost increases because of high oil prices, inflation, supply chain shortages and costs associated with rebooking and compensating passengers, it said in a statement.

A KLM spokesperson said that issues at the hub had cost €175 million since April.

This includes €30 million in direct costs for passenger compensation and additional €145 million in missed income.

Problems at Schiphol "are costing KLM a great deal of money and limiting the number of flights (it) can operate", KLM's chief executive officer, Marjan Rintel, said.

Staffing difficulties and queues have persisted into the Netherlands' autumn school vacation period this month.

Air France-KLM said it planned to operate about 85% of network airlines' pre-pandemic capacity in the fourth quarter, against an earlier range set between 85% and 90%.

Yan Derocles, analyst at ODDO BHF, said the outlook was disappointing after upbeat comments from German rival Lufthansa and Aer Lingus's owner last month.

Air France-KLM's quarterly core profit beat expectations, as it reported favourable demand recovery despite lower capacity and inflationary pressure.

Operating Income And Quarterly Revenue

The airline posted operating income of €1.02 billion in the third quarter, against an average estimate from analysts polled by the company at 844 million. Quarterly revenue was €8.11 billion, above 2019 levels.

News by Reuters, edited by Hospitality Ireland. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.

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