Air France-KLM posted its latest financial results for the full year of 2021, reporting a positive operating result in its fourth quarter.
With the reopening of long-haul routes to the United States in early November 2021 and easing travel restrictions, the Franco-Dutch airline managed to record a second consecutive quarterly profit. The airline reported fourth quarter operating profit of €178 million ($202 million), higher than the fourth quarter of 2019.
“The fourth quarter of 2021 marked a turning point for Air France-KLM. For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, the group posted better than pre-COVID results, with a positive operating result,” Anne-Marie Couderc, chair of Air France-KLM, commented in a statement issued by the airline on February 17, 2022,
“While the end of the quarter saw the return of travel restrictions along with the Omicron variant, the overall performance reflects both the pent-up demand for travel and the outcome of our transformation efforts,” she added.
In 2021, the carrier managed to fly 44,669,000 passengers, a 31.1% increase compared to 2020.
During the fourth quarter, it announced a fleet renewal program, ordering 100 Airbus A320neo family aircraft, with purchase rights for an additional 60 aircraft, plus an initial deal for four Airbus A350F Full Freighter aircraft with purchase rights for four additional aircraft.
Air France-KLM said the crisis was not yet over, however, noting continuing travel restrictions in Asia and the fact that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 led to flight cancellations in January.
After strengthening its balance sheet with loans from the French government in mid-2021, Air France-KLM said it was looking at further measures to strengthen its balance sheet, including a capital increase from shareholders and bonds in order to repay the state aid.
“Air France-KLM intends to remain flexible on the transaction structures, as well as on the sequencing and the sizing of each instrument depending on market conditions,” it commented in the statement, adding that it was expecting to raise up to €4 billion ($4.5 billion).