THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — French-Dutch airline group Air France-KLM said Friday that the “first signs of recovery are visible” in bookings amid easing pandemic travel restrictions as it reported a second-quarter net loss of nearly 1.5 billion euros ($1.8 billion).
The group’s fleet of planes carried just over 7 million passengers in the year’s second quarter, a rise of 477% compared to the same quarter last year, when strict lockdowns and travel restrictions slammed the brakes on the global aviation industry.
With many countries now easing those restrictions amid vaccination campaigns, travelers are taking to the skies once more.
“Reciprocity of borders reopening and the acceleration of the vaccination rollout worldwide, especially in the context of the rise of the delta variant, will play a key role in maintaining this momentum.” said group CEO Benjamin Smith.
The carriers said that the easing of restrictions on Americans flying to Europe “also resulted in an improved booking trend.”
However, it didn’t give any guidance on expected capacity for the fourth quarter of 2021, citing “the uncertainty of the reopening of the North Atlantic for European citizens and uncertainty concerning travel restrictions waiving.”
Revenue for the quarter was 2.75 billion euros ($3.26 billion), up by 132.5% compared to 2020’s second quarter.
Air France-KLM plunged to a 7.1 billion-euro loss (around $8.4 billion) in 2020 as the global pandemic triggered a 67% slump in passenger numbers at the group. The French and Dutch governments threw the carriers a lifeline of at least 9 billion euros ($10.6 billion) to ensure they survived the unprecedented downturn.
As part of cost-cutting efforts, the carriers laid off thousands of workers amid the pandemic.