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Finnair Q2 loss narrows on cost-cutting


February 16. 2013 2:53PM
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(AP) Finnair PLC saw its second-quarter loss narrow to 19.8 million ($24.4 million) from a year earlier, partly because of a cost-cutting campaign.


The airline said it would continue with its efforts to cut costs and expects the positive trend to carry through to the second half of the year. In last year's second-quarter, the company made a loss of 23 million.


Sales in the period grew more than 10 percent to 594.4 million, with increased demand "exceeding expectations," particularly in Europe but also in Asia traffic.


Finnair's share price jumped 6 percent to 2.15 ($2.64) in morning Helsinki trading.


The national carrier gave a cautiously bright outlook, saying it expects further improvements in the second half of the year especially in Asia, "provided that traffic develops according to our estimates and our cost reduction program proceeds in line with its goals." Its plan is to cut costs by 140 million by 2014.


With a cabin staff of 1,700 in Finland, it has warned crews of "adjustments" that include temporary layoffs in late 2012 or 2013.


"The outlook for the world economy is still uncertain, and Finnair will adjust its passenger traffic capacity with its current structure according to demand if necessary," it said. "Finnair estimates that this capacity will increase on last year but less than the 5 per cent level given in the earlier estimates."


Finnair and Europe's largest regional airline, Flybe, last year announced a joint venture, Nordic Flybe AB, and jointly bought Finnish Commuter Airlines in 25 million cash deal. Finnair said that in addition to that partnership it was analyzing further "cooperation opportunities," particularly in Europe.


"This analysis will be continued and our goal is to find solutions that would be in line with the overall interests of the company and would promote our operations as a network company," the airline said.


Finnair, which has been struggling against budget airlines, has cut jobs, streamlined operations and outsourced services. In April, it signed an agreement with the Swiss SR Technics on engine and component maintenance support as part of a move to restore the company's profitability.


With a fleet of 60 aircraft, Finnair flies to some 50 destinations. It is 56 percent government-owned and employs 7,100 people, down from 7,500 a year earlier.


Associated Press


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