Air Transport World

Europe.(airlines)(Statistical Data Included)

28.37% of world passengers

30.67% of world RPKs

27.30% of world FTKs

AB Airlines: The British low-cost carrier, which reported an operating loss of $17.4 million for the year ended Nov. 30 after losing $3.5 million in the previous year, traded weekly slots at London Gatwick with Virgin Atlantic in an effort to shore up its finances. It also is trying to sell its delivery positions for six 737-700s. Despite its financial woes, AB told the UK CAA that its boardings were up 72.3% last year.

Aer Lingus: Record profits highlighted 1998 at the Irish carrier, which is hoping to attract an equity investor in 1999. The Irish government has let it be known that it would like to divest part of its 95% ownership stake.

The pre-tax profit of $77.6 million was up 13.7% from the 1997 total. Revenues advanced 12.4% to $1.3 billion. Group Chairman Bernie Cahill said the results indicated "a welcome underlying robustness" and reflected the success of the company's strategy to focus on its core business.

Aer Lingus launched service to Los Angeles this past May and noted that its transatlantic traffic has more than doubled over the past six years.

Air Baltic: At the beginning of 1999, Baltic International USA sold its remaining 8% interest in the three-year-old Latvian carrier to SAS.

Air Dolomiti: The European Regions Airline Assn.'s Airline of the Year for 1998 enjoyed a 47.9% increase in passengers last year and took in revenues of about $88 million. The Trieste-based carrier, a codesharing partner of Lufthansa flies 10 ATR 42s and two ATR 72s and is scheduled to receive two more ATR 72s this year, one of which will replace an ATR-42.

Air Europa: The Spanish carrier's traffic declined last year as it leased 11 of its aircraft to Iberia, an arrangement that is continuing this year. Boardings dropped 23.6% and RPKs were off 17.8%. Air Europa remained profitable, however, matching its 1997 net income of $3 million on revenues of $546 million. 49.9% shareholding in the Italian carrier last year and this spring Air Europe joined the Qualiflyer Group and launched scheduled service on routes within Italy. Last year it initiated scheduled service to Havana, Mauritius and Montego Bay.

Passenger boardings rose 13.7% in 1998 and revenues were off slightly to $224.7 million.

Air France: Hammering out a new labor agreement with an entrenched pilot work force, Air France avoided the ultimate embarrassment of disrupting France's hosting of the soccer World Cup by ending a pilot strike the day before Cup play began, although the strike cost the airline $211 million. Air France convinced its pilots to take a voluntary stock-for-wage-cut exchange spread over a seven-year period, although some aspects of the scheme will continue indefinitely.

The company made its initial public offering, the first step on the long privatization road, selling 17% of its shares for l4 euros ($15.84) for individuals and 14.2 euros for institutional investors, a price that values the airline at $3.2 billion. The government also agreed to sell 7-9% of AF stock to the carrier's pilots and another 3% to other employees and to cut the government holding to 53% by 2002.

Group revenue in the year ended March 31 totaled $9.7 billion, producing an operating profit of $994 million and a net of $265.7 million. Preliminary traffic figures for FY99 showed RPKs up 6.7% on a 6.3% rise in ASKs, pushing load factor up 0.3 points to 75.5%. RASK, however, was down 2.9% as the airline emphasized long-haul operations in its restructuring.

Air France Cargo last year opened what it termed "the largest and most advanced cargo terminal in Europe," representing an investment of $66.8 million. It also launched a new commercial concept, a three-party agreement among Air France Cargo, forwarding agents and shippers.

Using its partnerships with both Delta and Continental, AF early this year said it would offer daily services to 89 destinations in the US from its Charles de Gaulle hub, up from 36. Serving 11 destinations with Air France aircraft, the carrier will rely on its partners for the rest. As one of the last large European carriers not signed on to a major alliance, it is being courted aggressively hut remains cautious in choosing sides.

AirMalta: Scheduled service to Gothenburg, Stuttgart, Rotterdam and Thessaloniki during the summer helped to boost AirMalta's traffic and revenues last year and it is looking for even greater growth in 1999 as it adds Moscow, Prague and Stansted to its network. Additionally, Hanover, Dresden and Leipzig will he switched from charter to scheduled destinations.

Boardings in 1998 rose 9.9% and RPKs climbed 9.4%. Gains of 15.1% in passengers and 10.9% in RPKs are foreseen this year. Revenues increased 5.3% to $213.2 million, raising operating profit to $11.9 million from $3.4 million in 1997.

Air One: Italy's third-largest airline trimmed losses to $4.9 million in 1998 from $32.8 million in 1997. The Rome-based independent carrier operates on Italian routes and also serves Stansted and Zurich with a fleet of three 737-200s, four 737300s and five 737-400s. It expects to be profitable in 1999, with sales rising to $165 million, as it eliminates some less-lucrative routes.

Air Open Sky: The Paris-based start-up has entered an agreement to operate two ATR 42s on behalf of Air Liberte. It also flies two ATR 42s and four Metro ills on its own behalf.

Air Slovakia: Traffic and revenues were down once again last year at the Slovakian carrier, which flies a 727-200, but good growth is foreseen in 1999 as two 737-200s join the fleet.

Boardings fell 5.1% in 1998 and RPKs declined 4.7%. Increases of 48.2% in passengers and 35.6% in RPKs are forecast this year. Revenues dropped 26.1% to $7.2 million hut net profit rose to $236,000 from $32,000.

AJT Air: This carrier is now the largest holiday charter airline in Russia. It flies four IL-86s and its boardings were up 18% in 1998.

Alitalia: The resurgent carrier reported impressive 1998 net earnings of $221 million, albeit down from $350.8 million in 1997 when a $199 million one-time gain influenced consolidated net profit. …

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