Swiss International Air Lines has recorded a sharp fall in profits over the last year, as a “difficult economic environment” continues to impact upon the airline.
The flag-carrier reported an operating profit of CHF146 million (£90 million) for the financial 2009, down from CHF472 million (£293 million) the previous year. This represents a fall of 69 per cent.
“We should be very satisfied with our results for 2009,” said Swiss chief executive Harry Hohmeister.
“We achieved a black-ink result in all four quarters; and we were able to do so despite sizeable declines in our revenues and a tangible migration from higher to lower booking classes.
“With our selective adjustments to our capacity in response to demand, our strong focus on the customer and our rigorous cost management, we have maintained as much control as possible over the present economic crisis and its ramifications.”
Earlier this week the IATA lowered predicted losses for the global aviation industry during 2010, and also revealed last year’s losses may now be revised.
At Swiss, total income from operating activities declined 17 per cent year-on-year to CHF4.3 billion (£2.7 billion).
The airfreight business of the company’s Swiss WorldCargo unit also showed signs of recovery towards year-end. Swiss invested some CHF500 million (£311 million) in renewing its aircraft fleet and further refining its service product over the course of the year.
The crisis has substantially accelerated the structural changes the airline industry is currently undergoing, argue Swiss, with the aviation sector unlikely to see any swift recovery.
In response to the changed and changing demand, Swiss realigned its capacity in 2009 particularly to intercontinental destinations, reducing frequencies on certain routes.
Total actual production was some six per cent below that originally planned; following three per cent reduction in Europe and an eight per cent reduction on the intercontinental network.
“We’ve set some ambitious objectives for 2010,” continued Mr Hohmeister.
“We want to substantially increase the revenues from our passenger and our cargo business, to ensure that we don’t only improve our bottom line through further cost economies.
“We’re also especially pleased to be adding a further attractive destination – San Francisco – to our network,” he concluded.