- Passenger numbers: 3.8 million, +10.3% year-on-year;
- Cargo volume: 109,504 tonnes, +6.7%;
- Freight: 74,669, +4.0%;
- Mail: 34,835, +13.0%;
- Aircraft movements: 29,847, +11.7%;
- 12 months ended 31-Dec-2011:
- Passenger numbers: 45.0 million;
- Cargo volume: 1.2 million tonnes;
- Aircraft movements: 322,259.
Guangzhou Airport reports traffic growth in Dec-2011
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Air France-KLM: 1Q margin gain beats IAG & Lufthansa, but lack of 2016 target betrays low confidence
Air France-KLM narrowed its operating loss in 1Q2016 – mainly thanks to lower fuel prices, and also helped by lighter downward pressure on unit revenue than was felt by either IAG or Lufthansa. This probably reflects its tighter capacity management. Moreover, Air France-KLM's operating margin improvement from a year earlier was greater than both IAG's and Lufthansa's.
However, Air France-KLM's margin remained well below those of its rivals, both for the group as a whole and also for its LCC subsidiary Transavia in comparison with the LCC divisions of the other two. Emphasising the uncertain outlook for unit revenue (and echoing comments made by both IAG and Lufthansa in this respect), it does not expect its relative strength in 1Q to continue throughout the year.
Furthermore, Air France-KLM is still the only one of the three leading European legacy airline groups without a 2016 profit target. It rightly continues to prioritise capacity discipline, unit cost reduction and the lowering of net debt, while working to gain pilot union agreement to vital productivity improvements. However, as the global industry is enjoying cyclically high margins, Air France-KLM's reticence over profit guidance reveals its lack of confidence. The incoming CEO, Jean-Marc Janaillac, will need to rebuild this.
Lufthansa cuts 1Q2016 operating loss, but mainly thanks to one-offs and fuel. Cost focus still key
The Lufthansa Group narrowed its operating loss in the seasonally weak 1Q2016, in spite of a fall in revenue. A weak pricing environment was more than offset by a reduction in unit costs. This was principally thanks to lower fuel costs, but there was also a welcome fall in underlying ex fuel CASK at constant currency.
However, although Lufthansa Passenger reported higher profits than in 1Q2015, there was a decline for SWISS, Eurowings, Cargo, MRO and Catering. For LCC Eurowings, this was partly due to start-up costs in long haul and at Vienna, but it also reflected strong LCC competition in Germany. Lufthansa is still considering whether to add Brussels Airlines to its Eurowings operation. Austrian only improved its result because of a one-off gain and, moreover, it seems that the improvement in operating profit at the Group level compared with 1Q2015 was due to one-off items.
Lufthansa still expects to post a slightly higher adjusted EBIT result in 2016 than in 2015. Nevertheless, its 1Q2016 report demonstrates that, for all its restructuring progress, it is not achieving results that are consistent with the broader cyclically high margins of the global airline industry. Further CASK reduction remains the focus.