In the first quarter of 2015, EBIT rose to -159.9 million euros, or 23 million euros over the same quarter last year (Q1, 2014: -182.8 million euros). This demonstrates that despite a competitive market environment, the strategic and operational realignment at airberlin had already begun producing some positive effects on earnings at the start of the year.
Summary of consolidated earnings in the first quarter of 2015
Current performance reviews show airberlin’s average yield at 121.66 euros (Q1 2014: 116.72 euros). This represents a yield optimization of 4.2 percent as compared to the same quarter last year, and was achieved primarily through improvements in revenue management.
Revenue development showed an increase to 793.7 million euros, corresponding to a 4.2 percent growth in revenue over the same quarter last year (Q1 2014: 761.8 million euros). Due to an improved performance during the first three months, operating earnings (EBIT), at -159.9 million euros during the first quarter, also showed a 14 percent increase over the same quarter last year (Q1 2014: -182.8 million euros).
Allowing for current exceptional expenses from the ongoing restructuring program as well as non-recurring effects, adjusted EBIT was -151.4 million euros. Net profit in the first quarter of 2015 was -210.1 million euros (Q1 2014: -209.8 million euros). The Net profit decreased owing to higher interest expenditures and shifts in the market valuation of hedge instruments. 287.6 million euros in liquidity as of 31 March 2015 means Air Berlin PLC is in a stable financial position (Q1 2014: 273.0 million euros).
The current cost structure is marked by a slight rise in personnel and technical and maintenance expenses and increased airport charges. The personnel costs have risen by a direct employee takeover from NIKI, tariff developments and non-recurring expenses. Expenses incurred for technical and maintenance as well as airport charges will, however, be offset over the course of the year by systematic structural effects during the ongoing realignment.
Available seat kilometres (ASK) increased by 1.5 percent. Capacity utilization in the first quarter of 2015 stood at 83.2 percent, a modest increase over the same quarter last year`s rate of 81.8 percent. Total revenue per available seat kilometre (RASK) was 6.71 eurocts (up 2.6 percent on Q1 2014: 6.54 eurocts).
Total costs per ASK (CASK) rose by 0.8 percent year-on-year, going from 8.14 eurocts to 8.20 eurocts.
Stefan Pichler, CEO of Air Berlin PLC, comments on the results of the first quarter as follows: ”We have an initial operational earnings impact from the reduction in capacity and a slightly improved yield management approach. At the same time, seasonal effects such as Easter have also positively influenced the result. Still, we are at the beginning of a long road to recovery.“
Partnerships further strengthened, restructuring measures prove effective
Stefan Pichler emphasizes the importance of airberlin’s strengthened partnerships, in particular with Etihad Airways: ”During the first three months of the year, passenger volume increased by another 18 percent year-on-year, accounting for over 174.400 guests. We intensified our collaboration with Etihad Airways by expanding codeshare
connections, with new ones available from Abu Dhabi to Hong Kong, Sri Lanka and Nairobi.“
As well within oneworld® a 19 percent increase in the number of passengers was recorded in the first quarter of 2015. Route performance and effective capacity utilization by the airline partner Iberia contributed significantly to growth.
The restructuring program, initiated in 2014, has already been showing initial positive effects since the start of 2015. Initial positive effects on revenue have been produced by the network restructuring concluded in January, further improvements to the revenue management system as well as the establishment of a new fare concept, and should
intensify in the coming months.
During the first quarter, the new “airberlin business benefits” brand was introduced, which combines and further expands airberlin’s many existing corporate benefits. At the beginning of May, airberlin launched its new fare concept for short and medium-haul flights. The tailored fares open up new customer groups for airberlin and offer a great deal of flexibility. Another focus is airberlin’s service offensive. This includes its newly introduced customer advisory boards. In June, airberlin will launch its 24/7 service offensive – from the middle of the year, every passenger will receive feedback on their enquiry within 24 hours, and all customer enquiries will be fully processed within seven working days.
Because of increased market pressures and special expenditures, current foreseeable business development in the second quarter has so far not fulfilled expectations.
airberlin will be working systematically on realignment in the coming quarters in order to achieve positive revenue development with respect to revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) as well as steady improvement in average revenue (yield). Continued expansion of product offerings is also of strategic importance in this regard.
Stefan Pichler is convinced of realignment`s effectiveness: “The first quarter has turned out properly. We nderstand, however, that we need to continue the systematic reengineering of our company in order to achieve the goals we have set and generate the necessary market momentum. I am convinced that we are on the right track. Our focus on an open and inclusive management culture will enable us to drive further operational improvements.“