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SkyEurope trebles loss in FY2008; Austrian Airlines not favoured. European airline share prices

After the previous day's strong performance on Wall Street, European markets closed yesterday on a positive note. The FTSE rose 81.2 (+1.89%) to 4381.26, the DAX 30 was up 63.23 (+1.34%) closing at 4779.11, while the CAC 40 rose 50.32 (+1.55%) to 3297.8.

But the underlying softness of the economic environment meant that airlines did not generally follow the upward movement.

SkyEurope (-8.0%) in particular was punished for reporting an EBIT loss of EUR56.1 million in 2008, much worse than its loss of EUR20.9 in 2007, after being "significantly impacted by the high fuel prices". This was not helped by its recognition of the need to reduce capacity too, announcing a 19% reduction over the winter, although it will "impact our unit costs ex-fuel negatively".

Austrian Airlines too, which had been prospecting to expand its ownership of Ukraine International Airlines, is now to sell back its 22.5% holding in that carrier at a nominal value. Amid low interest, Austrian (-3.4%) became the second worst performer.

European selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 09-Dec-08