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Air France-KLM’s third-quarter corporate traffic was 61 percent recovered compared with the same period in 2019, barely up from the second-quarter level of 60 percent, the company announced Friday. Revenue from corporate customers, however, increased to 76 percent recovered versus 69 percent last quarter.

“Corporate travel revenue and traffic continued to grow gradually throughout the quarter with a positive yield dynamic,” Air France-KLM CEO Benjamin Smith said on an earnings call. He added that the quarter’s load factors for first- and business-class cabins were above 2019 levels, but that was driven by high-yield leisure demand 

The company has seen strong business travel demand from the small and midsize market, Air France-KLM CFO Steven Zaat said, adding that the company expects to see more corporate traffic and revenue when China further opens to inbound traffic. 

“We are expecting a little bit to stay at these levels for the end of the year, and then gradually when capacity comes back also to Asia, that we will increase that core product revenue,” Zaat said. 

Q3 Metrics and Guidance

Air France-KLM reported third-quarter revenue of €8.11 billion (US$8.02 billion), up €503 million from the same period in 2019. Its load factor at 88 percent was slightly below the 90 percent recorded in Q3 2019. Net income was €460 million compared with €361 million three years prior. 

Third-quarter capacity was 89 percent of 2019 levels, and the carrier expects it to be about 85 percent recovered for the fourth quarter and reach approximately 90 percent for the first quarter of 2023. The company cited the ongoing capacity cap at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, KLM’s hub, for the lowered fourth-quarter outlook. Full-year 2022 capacity is projected to be 80 percent of 2019 levels.

Air France-KLM carried more than 25 million passengers during the third quarter, up about 48 percent year over year. 

During the quarter, KLM launched its premium comfort class, according to the company. Last week, Air France-KLM signed two new deals for sustainable aviation fuel. In addition, the company further postponed the introduction of its global distribution system surcharge for business travel agencies to the end of the first quarter of 2023.

RELATED: Air France-KLM Q2 results


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