Delta, Air France-KLM and Alitalia reduce flights
Delta Air Lines, Air France-KLM Group and Alitalia have announced a 7-percent to 9-percent reduction in flights between Europe and the United States and Canada from 2010. Taking effect this fall, this reduction comes on the heels of numerous economical challenges, such as rising fuel prices and reduced seasonal demand.
"Our alliance allows us to make strategic decisions about our network and operate as a single airline on trans-Atlantic flights,” Bruno Matheu, executive vice president of marketing, revenue management and network for Air France-KLM, said in a statement. “Combining our efforts, we are able to leverage the benefits of the joint venture to respond to economic and external cost pressures.”
During the fall and winter months, Delta, Air France-KLM Group and Alitalia will cut down on the number of flights across the Atlanta and reduce the size of their fleet to such destinations. On the flip side, however, the airline partners will launch flights to warm-weather locations during this season.
Perry Cantarutti, Delta’s senior vice president of EMEA, believes the partnership between these four airlines enables it to better address customer demand. “With the most established joint venture across the Atlantic, we are in a unique position to collaborate with our JV partners to make full use of our combined fleet and networks to generate healthy returns and consistently serve our customers,” he said in a statement.
In related news, Air France-KLM recently revealed its annual report for the 2010 to 2011 financial year. Despite a number of catastrophic world events — including the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan — the carrier posted impressive numbers. With profits up 12.5 percent, reaching €23.62 billion, Air France-KLM achieved a free cash flow of €400 million.
Although cargo traffic remained steady for the carrier, capacity was up 2.6 percent in the first quarter of 2011. Load factor was another area of growth, increasing by 1.9 percent from 2010 to 2011. Air France-KLM saw the biggest gains, however, in total cargo business revenue. Up 14.1 percent in the first quarter of 2011, profits in this area grew a staggering 29.5 percent in only a year.
Despite these numbers, Gourgeon is focused on further improvement. “We are confident in our ability to improve our operating result in 2011, and we remain focused on our longer-term objectives, notably a significant reduction in our gearing ratio,” he said in a statement.
Air France-KLM CEO Pierre-Henri Gourgeon asserts that this growth in challenging economic times speaks volumes about his company. “We have seen a contrasted year, with on the one hand a more favorable economic environment, but on the other a number of exceptional events affecting our operations,” he said in a statement. “Nevertheless, the strategic actions launched last year enabled us to return to profit in spit of a €1 billion rise in our fuel bill and the impact of various crises.”