Thursday 25 February 2021

Air France-KLM post record €7bn loss as coronavirus halts travel

Air via Wikimedia Commons

Airline Air France-KLM posted a loss of €7.1bn last year, as coronavirus halted travel and planes that did fly had low capacity.

The number of passengers fell by 67% last year, while freight transport was down 21%, the airline said. The combined workforce had also been reduced by 8,700 by the end of the year, as jobs were axed to cut costs.

The Dutch arm of the operation, KLM, also published sales figures, showing turnover down by half to almost €5bn. ‘KLM’s financial results show just how serious the situation is,’ said KLM chief executive Pieter Elbers.

The Dutch and French governments have already pumped €3.4bn and €7bn respectively into the airline group and are in talks on a further support package, although the negotiations have not been smooth so far.

KLM has also announced plans to shed a further 6,000 jobs.

The continued lockdown and travel restrictions means the first quarter of this year will also be ‘challenging’, group chief executive Ben Smith said.

‘2020 tested the Air France-KLM Group with the most severe crisis ever experienced by the air transport industry,’ he said. Nevertheless, staff dedication and flexibility has ‘allowed us to remain resilient despite an unprecedented drop in traffic.’

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