LV: airBaltic passenger turnover down by 12.6% y/y in Jan-Nov.

By bne IntelliNews December 19, 2012
Latvian national air carrier airBaltic transported a total of 2.758mn passengers in Jan-Nov 2012, which made a 12.6% y/y decrease, company's communications department announced. In November alone, passenger turnover dropped by 13% y/y to 0.176mn. Number of flights in November declined by 5% y/y to 3,250. To remind, airBaltic transported a total of 3.3mn passengers in 2011, which made a 5% y/y increase. Losses of airBaltic in H1/12 were LVL 23mn (EUR 32.7mn), CEO of the company Martin Gauss estimated previsously. Companys revenues in H1/12 amounted to LVL 104.7mn, number of flights went down by 15% y/y and passenger turnover down by 11% y/y. Overall this year company plans to cut the losses from LVL 83.2mn seen in 2011 to LVL 33mn. As reported, troubled national air carrier airBaltic could start running with profits in 2015, Minister of Transportation Aivis Ronis believes. Current business plans sees the company avoiding losses in 2014 already. To remind, in the end of 2011 47.2% airBaltic shares held by BAS were bought by the Transport and Communication Ministry, thus bringing the state's share in the company to 99.8%. As reported in H2/11, the conflict between the CEO of airBaltic Bertold Flik and the government ended with the resignation of Flik and appointment of Martin Gauss, a former CEO of Hungarian airline Malev. Flik was working as airBaltics CEO since 2002. Fliks resignation was one of the conditions of government-approved austerity package for airBaltic. Government approved increasing the capital of airBaltic by LVL 57.67mn (EUR 82mn), should the private shareholders of the company Baltijas Aviacijas Sistemas comply with governments conditions. BAS was expected to invest LVL 50mn, proportional to its share in the company, to cover operational losses. In the meantime, with the recent crash of Latvijas Krtajbanka which was one of the main creditors of airBaltics, the government doubted BAS's ability to increase airBaltic's capital and took over the airline completely.

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