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Air France-KLM is engaging in a "profound transformation" to meet changing customers' expectations after the Covid-19 crisis ends, the group announced along with its third-quarter results Friday.
The airline said that revenues in the third quarter were €2.5 billion, down 67 percent on the same period in 2019, and that operating losses were €1.04 billion, a deterioration of nearly €2.0 billion year over year.
Group CEO Benjamin Smith said: "After a promising recovery during the summer, the gradual closure of international borders in the second half of August and the resurgence of the pandemic strongly impacted our results in the third quarter, with the group reporting an operating loss of €1 billion euros. We have accelerated the implementation of cost reduction and cash preservation measures."
He added: "We are also working closely with our partners on various means, such as rapid detection tests, that would allow traffic within the best sanitary conditions for our customers and employees. Beyond these immediate necessary measures, we are engaged in a more profound transformation of our group, with the objective of exiting this crisis in a stronger position, ready to address the future challenges of our industry. Air transport will continue to connect people and cultures, but we foresee changes in customers' expectations that we anticipate too."
The group said it had €12.4 billion of liquidity or credit lines at its disposal but net debt had increased by €3.2 billion to €9.3 billion since the end of 2019.
Third-quarter passenger traffic was down 80.7 percent year over year, according to the company, which noted, "The tightening of travel restrictions, border closures and absence of corporate travel delayed the expected traffic recovery. July and August were relatively strong in term of traffic compared to a disappointing September affected by restrictive travel measures."
The national lockdown starting Friday in France and lasting until the end of November at least will further weigh on the group's activities.
Smith added: "We expect a challenging fourth quarter 2020, with current forward booking sharply down compared to last year."
Originally published in BTN Europe.
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