This is an unprecedented loss that Air France KLM made public this morning with its annual results. The group has indeed recorded a loss of 7.1 billion euros due to the Covid pandemic which has affected the sector. Its turnover thus fell by 59% compared to 2019 to only 11.1 billion euros.
At the same time, the Airbus group has managed to limit the damage with a loss of only 1.1 billion euros according to figures also published this morning.
As for the airline's significant losses, they are indeed due to the Covid pandemic and the containment measures during the year 2020 which had an unprecedented impact on the group, as the company states in its press release.
Indeed, it should be remembered that the profitability of airlines depends largely on their ability to fly their aircraft as much as possible in order to amortize the cost by filling them to capacity, which was impossible last year due to the health crisis. The group has even had to appeal to the Dutch and French States to obtain direct or guaranteed loans totalling more than 10 billion euros.
While this loss confirms the expectations of financial analysts, it also takes into account a €822 million provision for the restructuring of the group, which is the consequence of the voluntary redundancy plans undertaken by the group.
While the airline had 83,000 employees at the end of 2019, these employees have lost 10% in one year with 5,000 fewer positions at KLM and 3,600 fewer positions at Air France.
On the other hand, ongoing plans should also make it possible to support 900 additional departures at KLM and 4,900 at Air France.
Finally, this loss was also increased by a €672 million depreciation of the aircraft fleet due to the end of operations of the Airbus A380 and A340 wide-body aircraft and the Boeing 747.
It should also be noted that part of this loss also comes from early purchases of kerosene to the tune of 595 million euros, which proved to be a loss with the fall in oil prices. Over the year, the airline lost 67.3% of its passengers.
The first quarter of 2021 was also announced as difficult due to tighter travel restrictions and passenger capacity will only reach 40% of the 2019 level. Visibility on the recovery in demand remains limited although the company expects traffic to recover in the third quarter of 2021 with the rollout of the vaccine.