Air France-KLM is struggling to take off again.

According to a report unveiled on Thursday, the Franco-Dutch group suffered a further heavy loss of 1.5 billion euros in the first quarter of 2021, in an "still difficult environment" for the aviation sector overwhelmed by the health crisis. 

Persistent travel restrictions resulted in a 73.4% drop in passenger numbers and 57% in revenue compared to the first quarter of 2020, and the start of the second quarter "does not show any significant improvement. ”Of the activity, indicated the financial director, Frédéric Gagey during a telephone press conference.

He hoped for a "reboot" over the summer.

Very penalizing border closures 

Air France-KLM was recapitalized last month with help from the French state, which doubled its stake from 14.3% to 28.6%.

The new drop in passenger traffic in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same period of 2020 reflects the continued border closures in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Air France-KLM, which normally operates a large long-haul network like its competitors Lufthansa and IAG (British Airways, Iberia), is very vulnerable to this.

"We cannot say that the epidemic situation at this stage, at least at the international level, has really improved, even if we see here and there the first figures which show that the vaccination campaigns are starting to produce their effects", noted Frédéric Gagey.

Losses that exceed 7 billion euros 

The group, whose companies (Air France, KLM and Transavia) deployed in the first quarter 48% of their capacities (in available seat-kilometers) for the same period of 2019, i.e. before the pandemic, will increase them slightly in the second quarter , at 50%.

In the third quarter, which includes the crucial summer period, "the group forecasts a capacity in available seat-kilometers of between 55% and 65% compared to 2019", detailed Air France-KLM in its press release.

Despite the progress of vaccination campaigns, in particular in the United States, in Israel and in Europe, "we are not yet in a situation where everyone travels freely, it will obviously still take many months before reaching a a situation that could be compared to that of 2019, ”underlined Frédéric Gagey.

The pandemic has already caused the group to lose 7.1 billion euros in 2020.


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