Air Berlin, Europe’s third-biggest discount carrier, said losses widened last year as tax and fuel expenses crimped margins and the company spent money on a restructuring strategy aimed at lowering the cost base.
The Berlin-based airline had a net loss of 265.6m euros ($348m), versus 97.2 million euros a year earlier, as revenue rose 14 percent to 4.23bn euros, it said today in a statement. The average loss estimated by analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News was 169m euros.
Air Berlin is almost 30 percent owned by Etihad Airways after the Abu Dhabi-based carrier agreed a $350m package of financing and funds for planes in December.
The Gulf carrier reckons a 105m-euro equity investment will be recouped in extra revenue in two years, making it a better bet for cracking the tightly regulated German market than adding new airliners.Air Berlin has cut routes and flights as an economic slump hurts demand, reducing capacity by more than 1 million seats to save 250m euros and pare debt by 50 million euros. It’s postponing receipt 19 jets in 2012 and 2013 and closing bases in Erfurt and Dortmund, shaving $508m from spending.
The carrier’s operating loss widened to 247m euros from 9.3m euros.
Deutsche Lufthansa, Germany’s biggest airline, reported a full-year net loss of 13m euros on February 7 as high fuel costs and the unprofitable UK-based BMI unit that it’s in the process of selling weighed on profits