Alitalia has become the latest airline to report a positive set of third quarter financial results, reflecting a rise in passenger numbers.

The Italian airline group, which was on the brink of bankruptcy two years ago, recorded net profits of €39 million against just €1 million in the same three months last year. 

Passenger numbers were up by 11% to 7.1 million as sales jumped by 15% to €971 million. Alitalia’s net loss for the first nine months of the year was reduced to €125 million from €323 million in the same period last year.

The airline said results for the full year could be an improvement on its previous target of halving its net loss with further gains likely in 2011.