Skip to main content
Access every election story that matters
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Access every election story that matters
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Air France-KLM unveiled a €1.05-billion ($1.24 billion) quarterly operating loss and warned of worse to come as a resurgent coronavirus brings new travel curbs.

Shares in the Franco-Dutch airline group fell after it reported a 67% drop in third-quarter revenue to 2.52 billion euros on Friday, as France returned to full lockdown for at least a month.

New COVID-19 outbreaks pose a threat to network airlines already weakened by the crisis and long-haul travel collapse.

Story continues below advertisement

“The gradual closure of international borders in the second half of August and the resurgence of the pandemic strongly impacted our results,” Chief Executive Ben Smith said.

Air France-KLM has €12.4-billion in liquidity, thanks largely to a French and Dutch government-backed bailout, a cash cushion comparable to those of European peers Lufthansa and IAG.

IAG, owner of British Airways, vowed on Friday to continue slashing costs after posting a €1.3-billion-loss for the three months to Sept. 30.

Net debt at Air France-KLM increased by €1.34-billion over the quarter to 9.31 billion.

The financial pressure will intensify with a further collapse in traffic, Chief Financial Officer Frederic Gagey cautioned.

Air France is expected to operate less than 35% of its year-earlier capacity in the fourth quarter, with KLM running about 45% of its schedule.

And the group’s 1.22 billion-euro quarterly operating cash burn would have been €582-million worse without payment delays agreed with suppliers and tax authorities - the benefits of which will now begin to wear off.

Story continues below advertisement

Air France-KLM shares were down 3.5% at €2.69 as of 0915 GMT. The stock has fallen 72% since the start of the year.

The operating loss was better than the €1.24-billion expected by analysts on 2.79 billion in revenue, according to the median of 16 estimates in a company consensus poll.

Earnings before interest, tax and depreciation came in at a negative €442-million and will be “substantially lower” in the fourth quarter, Air France-KLM said.

Some €565-million in restructuring charges swelled its bottom-line net loss to 1.67 billion.

By year end, the group expects to reduce headcount by 8,800 full time-equivalent positions, or 10% of its pre-crisis level, with more cuts due in 2021 at Air France - which accounted for 78% of the group operating loss.

KLM said it would consider “further rightsizing” as the pandemic drags on, with the Dutch government also pressing for longer-term wage restraint commitments.

Story continues below advertisement

Losses would have been significantly deeper at both carriers without wage subsidies granted by their respective governments or their hasty action to slash costs.

A doubling of cargo unit-revenue was a rare bright spot, thanks to freight pricing supported by the widespread grounding of planes, but did little to offset the broader gloom.

Air France-KLM said it still aimed to raise new capital to bolster its debt-laden balance sheet: a second step demanded by creditor banks and announced with the April bailout. “We’re working intensively on it,” Gagey said.

Be smart with your money. Get the latest investing insights delivered right to your inbox three times a week, with the Globe Investor newsletter. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies