Air France-KLM has reported a €1.2 billion loss for the first quarter of 2021, as Covid lockdowns continued to take their toll.
The Air France-KLM group flew 4.8 million passengers during the quarter, down by 73% year-on-year.
However, the group’s airlines will “progressively ramp up capacity” during the second quarter as more people are vaccinated across Europe.
The results statement said: “Due to the stricter lockdown in France until at least the beginning of May, continuation of the lockdown in the Netherlands and travel restrictions worldwide still in place, the group anticipates the beginning of the second quarter to be similar to the first quarter whereby the customer booking behaviour is still short-term oriented.
“The key to reduce travel restrictions and reopen borders is a rapid rollout of wide-scale vaccination.”
It expects its overall capacity in Q2 to be about half of that seen in the same quarter of 2019.
By the third quarter, capacity will be in the range of 55% to 65% compared to 2019, thanks to estimated higher demand.
Ben Smith, group chief executive, said: “A year into the Covid crisis, lockdown measures and travel restrictions in our home markets and around the world continue to strongly impact the group’s activity.
“In this ever-challenging environment, the group has nevertheless shown its resilience, maintaining a strict control of its capacity and costs.
“The success of the first set of capital-strengthening measures completed in April allows us to look forward to the summer season with greater confidence, hoping that the progress of the vaccination rollout worldwide and the implementation of travel passes will allow borders to reopen and traffic to recover.”
He added: “In the meantime, we have accelerated the implementation of our transformation plan to build a solid post-crisis model.
“This includes the execution of our voluntary departure plans, which are progressing as expected.”