Net earnings increased by 13 per cent. Stable RASK and Yield development.Ancillary revenue increased by 20 per cent.Codeshare debate and geopolitical events put a strain on first quarter.“In spite of a range of geopolitical and local political factors, airberlin improved its net earnings during the seasonally low first quarter by 13 per cent to -182.3 million euros (Q1 2015: -210.1 million euros). We also recorded a significant increase of 20 per cent in our ancillary revenues, and RASK and Yield remained stable,” Stefan Pichler, Chief Executive Officer airberlin, said.
“The underlying fundamentals of our business are moving in the right direction, and we will see greater improvements in 2016, particularly in the second half of the year. We also expect positive earnings effects from fuel and foreign exchange in an annual amount of approximately 250 million euros, as our hedging positions from prior periods expire.”
The results in the first quarter were heavily influenced by the lengthy and detrimental codeshare debate.
Stefan Pichler added: “The protracted and damaging dispute over codeshare flights had a negative impact on our earnings in the first quarter 2016. Even if the decision by the Lüneburg Higher Administrative Court ultimately led to a satisfactory outcome for us and our partner Etihad Airways, this debate resulted in a significant loss of revenue and the market has taken months to regain confidence.”
Terrorism and overall geopolitical volatility continue to affect European aviation. This can be seen in the general downward trend in the tourism sector, especially to destinations in Egypt and Turkey.
These factors, among others, caused EBIT to decrease to -172.2 million euros (Q1 2015: -159.9 million euros). At the same time, cash flow from operations improved to 22.1 million euros (Q1 2015: 1.9 million euros).
“Now, that this is behind us, we can look forward with confidence.”
Summary of the financial results for the 1st quarter in 2016
The capacity was reduced by 6 per cent in the first quarter of 2016 and passenger volumes decreased accordingly by 6.8 per cent to 5,416,618 million (Q1 2015: 5,810,397 million).
During the first quarter, passenger revenue declined by 9 per cent to 630.3 million euros (Q1 2015: 690.0 million euros). Flight revenue per passenger amounted to 116.36 euros and decreased by 2 per cent (Q1 2015: 118.75 euros).
Due to the reduction in capacity, airberlin also showed a decline in consolidated revenue of 7 per cent to 737.1 million euros (Q1 2015: 793.7 million euros) during the first quarter of fiscal year in 2016.
Total revenue per available seat kilometre (RASK) at 6.71 euro cents (Q1 2015: 6.71 euro cents) remained stable despite the difficult situation in the travel market. The yield – from flight revenue per RPK – declined by 1.7 per cent to 6.89 euro cents (Q1 2015: 7.01 euro cents) the positive development of ancillary revenues leading to a stable consolidated yield of 8.05 euro cents (Q1 2015: 8.06 euro cents).
Overall, ancillary revenue significantly improved by 20 per cent to 49.708 million euros (Q1 2015: 41.436 million euros), representing an increase by 28.7 per cent per passenger.
The capacity utilisation, as measured by the load factor (RPK/ASK), improved by 0.2 percentage points to 83.4 per cent (Q1 2015: 83.2 per cent).
The available seat kilometres (ASK) decreased by 7.2 per cent to 10.978 billion (Q1 2015: 11.827 billion). The sold seat kilometres (RPK) fell by 7 per cent to 9.15 billion (Q1 2015: 9.84 billion).
The unit costs (CASK) increased by 1.4 per cent from 8.20 euro cents to 8.32 euro cents compared to the same quarter last year. At constant currency the unit costs declined by 4.0 per cent to 7.87 euro cents. The total costs declined by 5.9 per cent to 913.1 million euros (Q1 2015: 970.3 million euros).
Network optimisation and an even closer partnership with Alitalia strengthens upward developments
Stefan Pichler said: “We will do everything possible to improve our cost structure. The underlying fundamentals of our business are moving in the right direction and we have the support of our major shareholder Etihad Airways.”
“We aim to establish airberlin as a network carrier in the market. This includes expanding the transatlantic flights between Germany and the US to include new destinations such as Boston and San Francisco starting in May 2016, along with increasing the flights on offer for the long-haul routes. From Dusseldorf alone, airberlin offers 15 per cent more flights in the summer schedule compared to the previous year. This corresponds to a total of one million seats available for sale.”
In addition to its long-haul flights, starting in May, airberlin also expands its flight offer from Germany, Austria and Switzerland to Italy through closer commercial cooperation with Alitalia. The mutual passengers of airberlin and Alitalia will benefit from up to 25 per cent more weekly frequencies on non-stop flights to Italy including a new airberlin route from its Dusseldorf base to Bologna, with three flights a day, starting 2 May. airberlin also adds capacity from Dusseldorf to Florence and Venice with the current daily operation to both Italian cities increasing to three services a day.
“Our new route offering has been extremely well received as we continue to restructure our sales operations, establish new marketing initiatives such as the ‘Super Sunday’ promotion, and increase our additional revenues by launching new, even more customer-oriented products and services.”