Austrian Airlines sees FY loss due to fuel prices, CEO to stand down in 2006

VIENNA (XFNews) - Austrian Airlines said it expects to report a loss for the full year as the company's profits were hit by higher fuel prices.

Chief financial officer Thomas Kleibl said: "Despite the welcome recovery in the third quarter, we will report a loss for 2005 as a whole."

"We are planning to take a range of additional steps on the sales and product sides in 2006, as well as new measures focused on our productivity and costs. These will be designed to gradually contribute up to 100 mln eur to our result with full year effect in 2007," Kleibl added.

The carrier's chief executive Vagn Soerensen said it would continue to cut costs "in the context of high petrol prices and over-capacity in air transportation in Europe."

For the first nine months of the year, pretax loss was 96 mln eur against a profit of 36 mln eur last year.
The figure before interest, taxes, depreciation and write-offs, a key indicator in the transport sector, was 154.1 mln eur in the period, against a profit of 238.6 mln eur in 2004.

Sales in the year to date were 1.80 bln eur against 1.69 bln eur in 2004, which was in line with analyst predictions.

The number of passengers increased in the first nine months of 2005 by 6.6 pct to 7.8 mln, with planes 73.9 pct full.

The Austrian Airlines group includes Austrian Airways, Lauda Air and Austrian Arrows and is seeking to expand in eastern Europe and Asia.

Soerensen, is to step down next year, leaving the company for "strictly private" reasons.

Austrian Airlines employs 7,050 people and serves 130 destinations in 66 countries. 

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