The Air France-KLM group has emerged from the negative ground it has fallen into since the start of the pandemic and made a profit of 728 million euros thanks in particular to an increase in activity and cost containment, it was announced today.
“We closed the year with a positive net result, a sign that we have turned the page on covid-19 and look to the future with confidence in our ability to meet future challenges,” Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Benjamin Smith said in a statement released today with the 2022 figures.
After two years of heavy losses (3,292 million euros in 2021 and 4,548 million euros in 2020), what explains this turnaround in 2022 was the 84.4 percent increase in turnover to 26,393 million euros, and the fact that fourth quarter turnover reached a high of 7,128 million euros.
The company handled 83.3 million passengers last year, up 86.5 percent, with a capacity increase of 44.2 percent.
The occupancy rate of the group’s aircraft increased by 24.8 percentage points and unit revenue per seat offered and per kilometer by 51.6%.
Last year, personnel costs were reduced by 10% compared to 2019, before the pandemic crisis, justified by a 16% reduction in headcount at Air France (excluding the low-cost subsidiary Transavia) and a 9% reduction at KLM.
The operating result also moved into positive ground with €1,193 million, or a difference of €2,819 million compared to the hole in 2022.
As a result, the operating margin was 4.5%, three-tenths of a percentage point higher than in 2019.
Most of the operating result came from Air France and KLM’s passenger business, at €1,131 million, after the negative €1,682 million in 2021.
The maintenance business contributed a further €163 million, while Transavia still remained in the red with €100 million.
Following the rescue plans of the French and Dutch states during the pandemic crisis, which allowed it to survive, the company has repaid since 2021 and until the end of 2022 a total of €4,900 million in liquidity aid.
Debt last year was reduced by €1,879 million to €6,337 million as of December 31.
In March, the company intends to repay the remaining 2,500 million euros of public loans it received.
The group’s confidence that activity will continue to recover in 2023 is reflected in announcements about its seat supply: between 90 and 95% of what it had in 2019 in the first two quarters and “above 95%” in the second half of the year.
Transavia will be one of the main drivers of this recovery, with a supply that will exceed that of the last year before the pandemic crisis: around 135% for 2023 as a whole.
The group expects its capacities to return to 2019 levels from 2024.
In the medium term, their financial goal is to achieve an operating margin of 7% to 8%.