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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 August, 2003, 16:50 GMT 17:50 UK
Air France profit plunges
Air France jumbo
Air France has seen profits fall by more than 95% as a result of the Sars respiratory virus, strikes at home, and the weakness of the global economy.

The company said on Tuesday that it made 4m euros ($4.4m; 2.8m) after tax in the three months to the end of June, compared with 159m euros in the same period last year.

The results - which exceeded expectations - came on sales down 10% to 3.01bn euros.

For the whole year, the company said it expects to make a "slightly positive" operating profit - a figure that excludes money it might make from selling planes.

Leaving out aircraft sales and other one-offs, Air France would have lost 13m euros in the April to June period.

Comparisons

Most of the company remains in the hands of the French taxpayer, but the government would like to sell off most of the 54.4% of the firm it owns - perhaps, according to market speculation, as part of a takeover of the Netherlands' KLM.

The airline is the second biggest in Europe measured by distance and passenger numbers.

However, its third spot in terms of raw passenger numbers is being challenged by low-cost airline Ryanair.

Despite Air France's worries about low-cost competition, its first-quarter figures were better than rival British Airways, whose loss for the same period had been 45m ($71m; 65m euros).

German flag carrier Lufthansa, however, managed to make an operating profit of 65m euros in the three months to June.


SEE ALSO:
Ryanair 'to overtake Air France'
04 Feb 03  |  Business


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