Air Berlin increases revenue and average earnings
Despite the impact of the economic and financial crisis, Air Berlin's profit and revenue for the first quarter of 2009 came in according to plan.
The number of passengers transported decreased to 5.5 million, i.e. a 6.2% drop, a figure that bested the branch average. For the first quarter of 2009, seasonal operating loss (EBIT) reached minus EUR 87.3 million (Q1 2008: minus EUR 68.6 million).
The reduced branchwide demand for flight services, in combination with the Easter flight season falling in April rather than in the first quarter, contributed to this development. Revenue reached EUR 661 million, an improvement of 1.2%, primarily as a result of the improved average earnings (Yield) per passenger.
Revenue per passenger kilometer (RPK) jumped from 7.22 to 8.33 Eurocents, i.e. an increase of 15.4%. Due to the higher cost of kerosene, EBITDAR (earnings before interest, leasing expenses, depreciation, amortization, interest and taxes), at EUR 27.1 million for the reporting period, was lower than in the corresponding period of the previous year (Q1 2008: EUR 40.3 million). Air Berlin achieved an operating result (EBIT) of minus EUR 87.3 million (Q1 2008: minus EUR 68.6 million). Net profit for the first three months of 2009 amounted to minus EUR 88.4 million (Q1 2008: minus EUR 59.6 million).
As Joachim Hunold, Air Berlin's CEO said: "In this challenging economic environment, Air Berlin has performed better than other European airline companies. We were able to increase our charter-business revenue, especially due to improved capacity management on our long-haul flights. Furthermore, despite a shrinking market environment, we have succeeded in keeping single-seat ticket sales relatively stable."
Ulf Hüttmeyer, Air Berlin's CFO, stated that the revenue increase per available passenger kilometer hinged on the improved management and the higher-quality client mix. Despite the slightly lower load factor of 71.5% (minus 1.8 percentage points), revenue per available seat kilometer (RASK) increased by 12.6% to 5.96 Eurocents. The number of corporate agreements reached 868, with the first quarter focusing on extending existing agreements. The growing price consciousness among business and corporate clients has resulted in increased demand for Air Berlin flights.
Cost development for the first quarter of 2009 (3.2%), at EUR 638 million, resulted mainly from the reverberating effects of the previous year. This includes hedging transactions for fuel and standard wage increases. Other operating expenses decreased by 5.9% to EUR 114 million.