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Old February 20th, 2005, 02:13 AM   #1
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✈ | AF™/KL™ | Air France-KLM Group: Air France/KLM

The Long Haul
How does Air France-KLM thrive in a global airline slump?
By using its connections - lots of them

Michael Freedman and Deborah Orr
28 February 2005
Forbes Global

How does the biggest carrier, Air France-KLM, thrive amid a global airline slump? Lots of connections.

From his office overlooking Charles De Gaulle Airport Jean-Cyril Spinetta can nearly see the remains of Terminal 2E, the $900 million building that collapsed in May 2004, killing four people. The terminal handled 90 Air France flights a day, and the accident left hundreds of confused travelers amid broken glass, screaming ambulances, police and rescue workers. "What was exceptional," Spinetta muses months later, "was that it collapsed at 7:30 in the morning, and we didn't cancel a single flight."

Exceptional, maybe. But hardly surprising. In his eight-year career at Air France Spinetta has shown a knack for turning turbulent situations into smooth landings. In the 1990s he transformed a moneylosing state-owned airline into one of Europe's best. After Sept. 11, when competitors folded and slashed fares and flights, Air France turned a profit and increased the number of passengers coming through Paris. And as the industry retrenched to stave off the inevitable wave of bankruptcies, Spinetta did what many thought was impossible: He merged Air France with the Dutch KLM to create the world's largest airline by revenue (see chart, p. 26).

Now, at age 61, Spinetta has emerged as head of Air France-KLM, a $23 billion (sales) global power that has maintained the trappings of two individual airlines--two sets of planes and two sets of marketing materials, for instance--but has combined routes to create a massive network that sells 225 worldwide destinations to 70 million passengers per year.

The new company gets 80% of its sales from long-haul international flights, which largely inoculates it against the low-cost carriers that have plagued the U.S. majors. The merger gives the company greater access to the all-important U.S. markets, particularly in high-traffic hubs like Houston and Atlanta, through its SkyTeam alliance and code-sharing agreements with Continental and Delta. And with hubs at De Gaulle in Paris and Schiphol in Amsterdam, two of Europe's busiest airports, it can offer customers more options than competitors even dream of. For instance, this mega-network allows Air France-KLM to sell a ticket from Madrid to Hong Kong, say, by way of either Amsterdam or Paris. "It's like offering two daily flights where the competition is more in the range of one," says Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, deputy chief executive.

Already the company has exceeded expectations. Spinetta initially estimated it would cut costs and increase revenue by as much as $260 million in the first two and a half years by buying in bulk, coordinating schedules and sharing maintenance facilities. He soon upped that estimate to $460 million. "We are not talking about the small stuff here," he said in November. "This is real big money." Meantime, in an industry that lost $35 billion since 2001, Air France-KLM's net income jumped 57% to $351 million in the six months ending Sept. 30 on $11.4 billion in sales.

Yet this company prospers largely as a result of its relationship with the French government. Paris created Air France in the 1930s, when it merged four airlines, and called the shots in the years to come. Staunchly French, the fleet was modernized using exclusively French-made aircraft. By 1938 it had the world's third-largest network and, not to be outdone by classy TWA, soon began serving champagne and hot meals. First-class travelers sat in private cabins on "Epicurean Flights." And in the 1960s the carrier became one of the first in the industry to show in-flight movies.

The golden age of air travel was punctuated with the arrival of the supersonic Concorde in 1976. But like the Concorde, put out of commission in 2003, Air France was largely a triumph of national pride over business sense. Years of arcane procurement procedures left the airline and its subsidiaries with ten models plying the skies. The company wasted time training pilots to navigate different cockpits or making them wait around until the right plane became available.

It fell behind U.S. counterparts by failing to develop a hub-and-spoke route map, instead flying half-empty planes between small airports. It eschewed the American concept of yield management pricing, which would have allowed it to charge different fares for the same flight, based on demand. It even lacked a frequent-flier program. According to one report, French bureaucrats couldn't decide whether awards should be based on miles or on the European standard, kilometers. (A spokesman denies there was serious discussion about this; miles ultimately won out.)

Finally, in September 1997, Air France turned to Spinetta, a man well-equipped to navigate the French bureaucracy. He studied at the Ecole Nationale d'Administration, a university for would-be bureaucrats and the French elite, and moved into government jobs at the ministry of education, followed by the ministries of labor and transportation.

As a fellow bureaucrat, Spinetta was more ally than adversary of his government shareholders when he took the reins at Air France. In 1998 pilots went on strike for three weeks leading up to the World Cup soccer games in Paris. Under enormous pressure to avoid French embarrassment Spinetta negotiated day and night, and maintained contact with the transportation minister, a member of the Communist Party. With the minister's support Spinetta managed to end the strike by offering pilots an 11% stake in the company in exchange for a wage cut.

Again, after Sept. 11, Spinetta stayed on the French government's good side. While competitors laid off tens of thousands of employees, the French flag carrier froze hiring and wages but guaranteed employees there would be no layoffs. (An Air France spokesman claims job cuts were unnecessary.)

Yet Spinetta also managed to restore Air France to profitability. He required every plane to have a standard layout, saving thousands of hours in training and downtime for flight crew and maintenance teams. He strengthened some of the initiatives begun by his predecessor, including putting together a hub-and-spoke route system. And he spent the dark days after Sept. 11 strengthening the SkyTeam alliance by working with Delta to bring Alitalia aboard. He also began discreet merger talks with KLM, a Dutch carrier with 58 long-haul destinations whose previous merger negotiations had gone nowhere.

Today, as a result of the merger, the French government owns only 18% of the combined company. Yet competitors continue to assert that the deep relationship allows Air France to maintain an iron grip on its greatest asset: landing slots at Charles de Gaulle, Europe's third-busiest airport, and at Paris' Orly airport.

In May London's low-cost carrier EasyJet filed a suit against the French body that allocates airport slots, alleging it was not truly independent and, in fact, too closely linked to Air France. As a result, EasyJet claims, Air France controls the French market, operating 86% of domestic flights and 62% of flights to Europe. As its next-largest competitor, EasyJet operates only 4% of such flights. Recognizing Air France's virtual monopoly in its home country, Easy's founder, Stelios Haji-Ioannou, puts it bluntly: "I think the lesson is it's good to be king."

Air France-KLM says it has no direct or indirect influence over slot allocation. Low-cost carriers still put 25% of Air France-KLM sales at risk, according to Spinetta, and in a statement the company argues the French market is subject to strong competition in the domestic market from airlines as well as from high-speed rail. Moreover, EasyJet obtained 25,000 slots at Charles de Gaulle and Orly in just two years. "This is an unprecedented situation," says Spinetta.

Still, as the suit winds ever slowly through the French legal system, Air France-KLM faces a slew of challenges. It already has higher debt and lower margins than European competitors British Airways and Lufthansa. High oil prices and a strong euro that keeps Yanks away from Europe could squeeze margins further.

Longer term, KLM Chief Leo van Wijk, Spinetta's number two in the new arrangement, expects to see competition from a transatlantic, low-cost carrier. And UBS analyst Damien Horth notes another challenge is coming from the east, by way of Dubai's Emirates Airline, which plans to buy 70 planes over the next five years, doubling the size of its fleet. Emirates' geography positions it to focus on Asia and the Mideast, two growth markets in the industry and strongpoints for Air France-KLM.

A far greater challenge will be dealing with the complexity of a system that depends on shuttling massive numbers of people through sometimes labyrinthine airports to get to the next leg of the journey. Airline executives know strong security measures conflict with consumer demands for speed and efficiency. Last year the Spanish Iberia Airlines had to abandon attempts to use Miami as a hub for passengers traveling between Spain and Central and South America. Customers missed flights as they stood in line to clear immigration before heading to their next destination.

Spinetta, however, is unfazed. In the last year, he says, Air France improved its on-time performance from 81.7% to 83.4% because of strong air traffic control. The rate of lost baggage incidents dropped from 8.3% to 1.4%. European airlines have proven better able to handle tough security measures than those in the U.S., and the Paris airport has a reputation for being among the world's most efficient. Despite great cost, airport personnel ferry passengers from one terminal to another, rush them through security and even shuttle them across tarmacs to make their flights.

Meantime, Alitalia is rumored to be hoping Air France-KLM will buy it out of its troubles, too. The Italian carrier had no comment, but an Air France-KLM spokesman says it is "ready to welcome Alitalia" in discussions after the Italian carrier privatizes later this year and improves its financial situation. So look for Air France-KLM to find the surest way to keep adding destinations, cycling millions more through its megahubs. Says Spinetta: "There can never be too many routes."
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Old March 16th, 2005, 06:37 PM   #2
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Air France-KLM to raise summer capacity 4.6 pct year-on-year
16 March 2005

PARIS (AFX) - Air France-KLM said it will increase its flight capacity by 4.6 pct across its network this summer, as measured in available seat/kilometre (ASK).

On long-haul flights, capacity will increase by 5.9 pct, with capacity to North America set to rise by 10 pct 'in spite of very fierce competition' in the region.


KLM to raise summer capacity by 2 pct in Europe, 6 pct in rest of world
16 March 2005

AMSTERDAM (AFX) - KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, a unit of Air France-KLM, said it will raise capacity in its summer schedule by 2 pct on European routes and by 6 pct on intercontinental routes, compared with the year-earlier period.

The new schedule starts March 27 and ends Oct 29.

The airline also announced plans to increase coordination between its hub at Amsterdam Schiphol and Air France's Charles de Gaulle hub in Paris. The airline will run 15 flights daily between the hubs and offer fares allowing passengers to leave via one hub and return via the other.

Air France and KLM will also launch this summer a new frequent flyer programme, combining their existing separate activities.
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Old March 17th, 2005, 07:47 PM   #3
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Air France-KLM says growth strategy unaffected by Paris airport repairs
17 March 2005

PARIS (AFX) - Air France/KLM said the decision to tear down and rebuild the roof of Terminal 2E at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport, which collapsed last May, will have no impact on the carrier's growth strategy.

'The growth strategy of Air France for the coming years will not be affected,' the company said.

Earlier today, the state-owned operator Aeroports de Paris (ADP) said the entire roof of the departure area of Terminal 2E will be rebuilt, allowing the terminal to operate normally by the end of 2007.

Four people died on May 23 when a 30-metre section of the roof over the terminal's departure lounge collapsed, just one year after being built.

An administrative inquiry found that structural and design faults were the cause of the partial roof collapse.
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Old March 25th, 2005, 12:26 AM   #4
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Air France KLM to order 7 cargo Boeings for $1.5 bln.

PARIS, March 24 (Reuters) - Air France KLM is set to order seven Boeing 777 freight carriers in a contract with Boeing Co. worth about $1.5 billion, French newspaper La Tribune reported in a pre-released Friday edition.

The new planes would replace part of Europe's biggest airline's Boeing 747 fleet from the end of 2008, the paper said, citing trade union sources.

"The company has in the past shown its interest in the 777," a Air France KLM spokesman said. "But I have no comment on the article."

Air France has already ordered 16 Boeing 777-300 planes, which will be placed in markets that have demand for first-class service, such as New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo. Earlier this month it ordered four extra Boeing 777-300ER jets.

Boeing vies with European airplane maker Airbus, which is controlled by giant European aerospace company EADS, in the global aircraft arena.
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Old April 9th, 2005, 06:50 PM   #5
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Air France KLM reports increase for passenger traffic and decrease for cargo in March
08 April 2005
Airline Industry Information

Air France KLM has reported an increase of 6.2% for its passenger traffic in March 2005.

According to the airline, the increase was due to growth for services to the Americas and to Asia and the load factor for the month was 80.1%, an increase of 1.7 percentage points. Air France KLM also reported that its traffic increased by 6.2% in the Americas, 11.2% in Asia and 9.1% in Africa and the Middle East. The airline saw a 3.6 percentage point increase on the medium-haul network, while there was a 2.8 percentage point increase in the load factor, Reuters reported.

The cargo traffic figures however fell by 2 percentage points for the month as the demand in Asia was weaker, while the cargo load factor fell by 4.9 percentage points to 67%.
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Old June 26th, 2005, 06:14 PM   #6
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Air France-KLM sees $2.6b in benefits from synergy
Joining the two European carriers has helped combat surge in jet fuel costs
Russell Barling
24 June 2005
South China Morning Post

The Air France-KLM Group expected to reap benefits of {euro}280 million ($2.6 billion) from the merger of their airlines within the first two years of joint operations, senior executives in Hong Kong said yesterday.

The enlarged group, formed in October 2003, controls about 16 per cent of passenger capacity between Europe and Greater China, a "top strategic market" as it looks to counter escalating jet fuel costs.

"The [enlarged] group has proven to be an asset in fighting higher fuel costs," Asia Pacific managing director Jean-Louis Pinson told the South China Morning Post.

"We expect synergies created by the merger to save us {euro}165 million this fiscal year. It has in part helped us counter our increasing costs."

Mr Pinson said capacity on China routes would grow 20 per cent this year, largely due to a doubling of Beijing flights from this month.

The merger of the two airlines - combining a fleet of more than 370 aircraft - and all the support services is on-going in Asia, where Japan is their biggest market.

Even with a diverse fleet and a healthy order book for new aircraft, the challenge will be to match the right aircraft to the right market, according to senior vice-president for Asia Pacific Boet Kreiken.

"There could be a business case made to increase our frequencies to Hong Kong," Mr Kreiken said. "But we don't have the right aircraft right now."

Management is merging everything from sales offices in the Philippines to aircraft maintenance and baggage handling firms in Hong Kong as it looks to maximise economies of scale.

But the philosophy is one of co-ordination rather than a full-scale integration of two of Europe's most recognisable brands, especially in key markets.

"There are already seven or eight countries in Asia where one airline is managing the business on behalf of the other," Mr Kreiken said. "But in China, Japan, India and South Korea we will continue to manage the businesses separately."

The increase in jet fuel cost has trimmed the bottom lines of the industry's top carriers this year.

Air France-KLM paid {euro}660 million more for fuel in the past fiscal year and it expects to add {euro}650 million to that figure this year.

Its policy of fuel hedging is paying off in an era where cover is hard to come by. The group has hedged at least 80 per cent of its expected fuel needs this year and next.
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Old July 4th, 2005, 09:08 PM   #7
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Air France raises fuel levy on all flights, KLM hikes long-haul surcharge
4 July 2005

PARIS (AFX) - Air France said that sustained higher oil prices have caused it to increase the surcharge added to its fares for short-haul flights by 2 eur, and raise the levy on long-haul flights by 4 eur.

The surcharge on Air France's domestic French flights will be increased by 1 eur, it said.

Including the increases, the Air France surcharge stands at 7 eur for domestic flights, 10 eur for short-haul and 38 eur for long-haul.

In a separate statement, Air France's Dutch merger partner KLM said it will increase its fuel surcharge by 14 eur to 40 eur on all long-haul flights, although the short-haul surcharge was left at 16 eur.

The increases will be put in place from July 19.

Both companies said the latest increases would be withdrawn should oil prices fall below 50 usd per barrel for 30 consecutive days.

Brent crude was at 57.80 usd per barrel in afternoon trade, with the US markets closed for the July 4 holiday.

Today's increases are the third since the surcharge was introduced last May. An Air France spokeswoman said the company will continue to review the surcharge as the oil price develops and has 'absolutely not' put a ceiling on the levy.
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Old July 10th, 2005, 07:13 AM   #8
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Air France-KLM reports 7.8-percent rise in passenger traffic

PARIS, July 7 (AFP) - Air France-KLM reported on Thursday that passenger traffic measured by miles travelled had risen by 7.8 percent in June on a 12-month basis on strong business on routes to the Americas, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

The group, recently formed of a merger between Air France and the then failing Dutch airline KLM, said that it had increased its total seat capacity by 4.6 percent and that its seat occupancy rate, a key measure of profitability, had risen by 2.4 percentage points to 81.5 percent.

Traffic on the Americas routes had risen "strongly" by 11.2 percent. On these routes the seat capacity offered had been increased by 12.0 percent and the occupancy rate had fallen by 0.7 points to 88.4 percent.

On Asian routes, seat capacity had been increased by 1.9 percent and traffic had risen by 6.0 percent with the result that the occupancy rate had risen by 3.3 points to 84.5 percent.

On routes to Africa and the Middle East, traffic continued to "increase strongly", rising by 11.6 percent. On these routes seat capacity had been increased by 10.2 percent. The occupancy rate had risen by 0.9 points to 76.2 percent.

On routes to the Carribean and Indian ocean, seat volume had been reduced by 9.5 percent. The occupancy rate rose by 7.7 percent to 75.9 percent and the amount of traffic carried had risen by 0.7 percent.

However, freight traffic continued to be sluggish owing to weakness of European exports, the airline said.

Carrying capacity offered had increased by 4.3 percent but traffic had fallen by 1.1 percent. The rate of capacity utilisation fell by 3.5 points to 64.7 percent.
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Old August 12th, 2005, 01:59 AM   #9
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Air France-KLM July Air Traffic Up 9.2%
8 August 2005

PARIS (Dow Jones)--Air France-KLM (AKH) said Monday that air traffic rose 9.2% in July compared to the same month last year, with capacity up 5.1%.

The company said its load factor gained 3.2 points to reach a record 85.2%, while the number of passengers rose 7.1% to 6.5 million passengers during the month. [ 08-08-05 0608GMT ]

Air France-KLM said all its long-haul routes posted load factors in excess of 80%. Routes to the Americas saw traffic increase 12.4% with capacity up 10.8% in July. The load factor on those routes rose 1.3 points to 91.2%.

The company said Asia continued to post a good performance with a 4.5 point improvement in load factor to 88.2% while traffic was up 11.6% on 5.9% higher capacity.

Traffic growth to Africa and the Middle East was up 8.8% on 7.0% higher capacity, increasing the load factor 1.3 points to 82.0%.

Traffic on Air France-KLM's medium-haul flights was up 8.3% in July with a 2.3% rise in capacity. Load factor improved significantly, rising 4.2 points to 76.2%.

The company said cargo operations continued to suffer from the weakness of European exports. Traffic decreased by 1.6% on 5.5% higher capacity with the load factor slipping 4.4 points to 62.1%.

The company said the Toronto airport accident on August 3, will have no commercial or financial impact on the Group.
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Old August 22nd, 2005, 04:51 AM   #10
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Monday August 22, 12:31 AM
Air France confident US gov't will grant SkyTeam antitrust immunity

PARIS (AFP) - French national carrier Air France said it was confident the US government would ultimately approve antitrust immunity for the SkyTeam global alliance of six airlines despite opposition from the US Department of Justice (DoJ).

An Air France spokeswoman noted that the DoJ report released Friday on the immunity request from SkyTeam, which also includes the Dutch carrier KLM, Czech Airlines, Alitalia and two US airlines Delta and Northwest, was only a recommendation to the US Department of Transportation, which is considering the proposal.

The DoJ's report said that immunity for the six-carrier alliance would lead to a risk of "significant harm to certain international and domestic competition."

The immunity request is designed to foster "new possibilities of cooperation in the United States and the Justice department has just given its analysis. The advice is only consultative," the French airline's spokeswoman said.

The French carrier was "confident of a favorable outcome to the request for anti-trust immunity at the DOT," she said.

The SkyTeam alliance has argued that immunity would help the six airlines provide more seamless travel arrangements and reduce costs.

A rejection of the immunity request in the US would not change how SkyTeam operates, but would prevent further coordination among the carriers.
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Old August 22nd, 2005, 06:41 AM   #11
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The US government has denied Air France/KLM and Delta/Northwest immunity request. It seems strange that the Department of Justice is enforcing the Anti-Trust laws so stringently, especially under a more lenient President Bush.
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Old August 30th, 2005, 05:52 PM   #12
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KLM starts first business class-only flight

AMSTERDAM, Aug 30 (Reuters) - KLM, a unit of Air France , said on Tuesday it would start its first regular flight service with business class seats only.

KLM will lease a Boeing 737-700 plane and crew from Switzerland-based PrivatAir for direct flights between Amsterdam and Houston in the United States, six times a week.

"The new service will meet the great demand for World Business Class (WBC) seats on this route," a KLM spokesman said, adding that customers were mainly working in the oil industry.

The aircraft will carry 44 lie-flat business class seats, equipped with plug-in points for laptop computers. The new service will start on October 30.
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Old September 1st, 2005, 02:01 AM   #13
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Air France KLM's Q1 profit seen up 13 pct

PARIS, Aug 31 (Reuters) - Air France KLM is expected to post like-for-like operating profits up around 13 percent for its first quarter under new accounting rules, despite starting its 2005/06 fiscal year with a steep fuel bill, analysts said.

Boosted by recent strong traffic figures, the airline group is expected to increase its operating profit to 197 million euros ($240 million) for the three months to end-June, from an IFRS-adjusted level of 175 million euros in the same period a year ago.

The forecast is the average given in a Reuters poll of seven analysts, while the year-ago figures have been restated to conform with new IFRS accounting rules and were distributed to analysts by the company.

The Franco-Dutch airline last year reported an operating profit for the period of 156 million euros under French GAAP accounting rules.

Amid a backdrop of record oil prices, analysts expect Air France's fuel bill to have risen some 30 percent during the quarter, but Air France has imposed a fuel surcharge since May 2004. It has also embarked on a cost-cutting programme.

The company's net profit is seen falling 79.4 percent to 110 million euros although core earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and aircraft rentals (EBITDAR), is forecast to have risen by 5 percent.

The fall in net profit is mainly due to a 449 million-euro accounting item related to its merger with KLM.

The company acquired KLM's assets for less than they were later found to be worth.

On its balance sheet Air France has subsequently been amortizing the revised, higher value of the KLM assets as a "negative goodwill" item on its balance sheet.

Excluding this item, net profit is seen rising 27 percent.

Investors are also hoping that management will return to their goal of reporting results broadly similar to the same period a year ago.

Following is a summary of analyst's forecasts polled by Reuters:

Q1 RESULTS, SEPT 2.

Code:
(mln euros) Low High Median Average 


 NET PROFIT             86    131   114      110.4
 OPERATING PROFIT      179    217   197      197.1
 EBITDAR*              787    812   794      796.2
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Old September 7th, 2005, 05:08 PM   #14
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Air France-KLM August Passenger Traffic +8.1%
September 7, 2005 02:49 ET

PARIS (Dow Jones)--Air France-KLM (3112.FR) said Wednesday its passenger traffic for August rose 8.1% on year due to strong demand in the Americas and Asia.

The load factor, an indicator of how airlines succeed in filling their aircraft, rose to 84.1% in August from 81.7% in the same month of 2004.

Capacity, the number of aircraft available, increased 5.1% in the period, Air France-KLM said in a statement. [ 07-09-05 0639GMT ]

Air France and KLM said both traffic and capacity rose sharply in the Americas, up 10.9% and 11%, respectively.

Load factor improved strongly in Asia, up five points to 87.5%, as traffic rose 11.6% on higher capacity, the companies said.

The Africa and Middle East network saw traffic increase by 8.3%, and Europe remained buoyant, with a 7.4% increase in traffic on 1.5% higher capacity.

Air France and KLM also said cargo operations improved slightly, up 3.2% as capacity increased by 7%, and the load factor slipped by 2.2 points, to 60.9%.
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Old October 31st, 2005, 02:10 PM   #15
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FRENCH PRESS: Air-France-KLM Wants Ties With US Airlines
31 October 2005

PARIS (Dow Jones)--Air-France-KLM (3112.FR) Chief Executive Jean-Cyril Spinetta said he would like to build closer ties with U.S. airlines to combat intense competition over transatlantic flights, several French dailies reported Monday.

"In the face of the surge in North Atlantic routes (operated by) U.S. companies such as Delta (DAL) or Continental (CAL), the only structural response is to be found in building joint ventures with these U.S. partners," he said.

Spinetta cited the current partnership between KLM and Northwest Airlines Corp. (NWAC) as an example of the type of partnership they are looking at, he said at the Cannes Airlines Forum Friday.

KLM Chief Executive Leo Wan Wijk said the partnership would be between Air-France-KLM, Delta and Northwest.
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Old October 31st, 2005, 09:00 PM   #16
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Regarding Delta and Air France/KLM, a problem that may be building up concerning Delta's massive addition of Delta flights to many more European cities. Delta has added or is planning to add in the next six months flights to Moscow, Kiev, Tel Aviv, Copenhagen, Duesseldorf, Berlin, Venice, Nice, Edinburgh and Athens. The Kiev and Berlin flights will be from JFK, but the rest will be from ATL. Because Air France and Delta fly four widebodies between ATL and CDG every day, much of this new service used to go through CDG on Air France planes. Now it is going directly to the final destination city on a Delta plane, thus lessening the need to fly so many passengers to Air France's CDG hub where they transfer to an Air France plane to their final destination.

It will be interesting to see how this move by Delta to fly long-hauls directly to more European cities has on the Delta-Air France relationship within SkyTeam.
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Old November 3rd, 2005, 02:18 AM   #17
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FRENCH PRESS: Early Departure Seen For Air France Chmn
2 November 2005

PARIS (Dow Jones)--Air France-KLM (3112.FR) Chairman Jean-Cyril Spinetta could decide to step down from his position before his contract expires in 2010, weekly magazine Challenges reports.

Spinetta, whose decision could be prompted by "personal reasons," could be replaced by Jean-Marc Espalioux, who was recently ousted as head of French hotels group Accor SA (12040.FR), the magazine reports, without citing sources.
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Old November 4th, 2005, 05:51 AM   #18
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Too bad, because Spinetta seems to be doing a fantastic job at Air France-KLM.
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Old November 7th, 2005, 04:28 PM   #19
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Air France-KLM October passenger traffic up 8.9 pct

PARIS, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Air France-KLM's passenger traffic rose 8.9 percent in October, thanks chiefly to continued buoyant traffic on its networks in Europe and the Americas, the Franco-Dutch airline said on Monday.

The company's load factor, an indication of the proportion of seats an airline has filled on its flights, climbed 2.2 points in the month to 81.7 percent of capacity.

On its European network capacity edged up 0.7 percent, contributing to a 5.8 percent rise in traffic, while the load factor in that region rose 3.4 points to 71.9 percent of capcity.

For the Americas there was a strong rise in traffic as well as capacity, rising 14.3 percent and 13.3 percent respectively. The load factor added 0.8 points to 86.8 percent.

Air France-KLM's load factor in Asia improved by 4.8 points, the company said, to 88.2 percent, while traffic increased 10.6 percent and capacity was 4.6 percent higher.

Cargo activity showed a 3.7 percent rise and was up for the third straight month. But capacity rose 7.4 percent and its load factor dropped 2.5 points to 68.4 percent of capacity.
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Old November 11th, 2005, 05:04 PM   #20
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Air France passengers gather to press case: 'I'm not same as before'
Agence France-Presse
11 November 2005

Some 50 passengers of the ill-fated Air France Flight 358 have gathered in Toronto, where three months ago they survived a fiery crash landing, seeking answers, hope and retribution.

What Canada's transport minister dubbed a "miracle" -- all 297 passengers and 12 crew escaped serious injury after their Airbus 340 skidded off the end of a runway at Pearson International on Aug. 2 -- these people remember as the most horrific experience of their lives, and they want compensation for their suffering.

"I'm not the same as before and it makes me angry [often] and very sad," said Abdul Al-Jebory, who has difficulty turning his head because of a neck injury. His left knee still hurts from jumping two metres from the right front exit of the plane where an escape chute did not deploy.

His wife was trampled by other passengers while trying to flee before the plane burst into flames and has since lost her sight in one eye. She feels "hopeless," Mr. Al-Jebory said. His three-year-old daughter, he added, has frequent nightmares.

A majority of the passengers suffer from psychological problems and a few dozen still feel pain after suffering real injuries, said lawyer Paul Miller.

Two separate lawsuits were filed within weeks of the crash. Both have since merged into a single class action lawsuit accusing Air France, Toronto airport authorities, control tower staff, Airbus, Goodrich -- which built the jet's escape chutes, two of which malfunctioned -- and the two pilots of Flight 358 of negligence in the accident.

The suit is seeking $150-million. At the meeting on Wednesday meant to update passengers on the proceedings, Mr. Miller said 107 plaintiffs had so far joined the litigation.

One passenger who asked to remain anonymous said he suffers bouts of anxiety and depression, sees a therapist regularly and says he is too afraid to fly ever again. The Toronto-area resident added: "There's been nothing done since: no crash zone built at the airport, no proper radar installed, the runway hasn't been lengthened.

In August, Air France chief executive Jean-Cyril Spinetta blamed airport authorities for allowing the plane to land in bad weather.

Transport Safety Board lead investigator Real Levasseur said the massive jet was too high on its approach and touched down too far along the rain-soaked runway before overshooting, skidding off into a ravine and bursting into flames.

He found no mechanical malfunctions, leaving human error and severe weather conditions as the likely culprits.

The board's conclusions, however, cannot be used in court to find fault.

Mr. Miller said he expects the lawsuit to be certified by a judge in March or April, but warned passengers it could take up to four years to resolve.
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