Russia’s flagship carrier Aeroflot said Monday it had piloted a return to profit after reining in its costs and enjoyed an ascent in passenger numbers among its company airlines.
The majority state-controlled company posted a net profit of 2.5 billion rubles (34 million euros) for the first half the year, compared to a loss of 3.5 billion rubles a year earlier.
Russia’s aviation industry has struggled in the face of the country’s economic crisis caused by falling oil prices and Western sanctions imposed over Moscow’s actions in Ukraine hitting travellers’ wallets.
The collapse of the ruble has also inflated certain costs, especially in aircraft leasing.
Aeroflot, which also operates Rossiia and Pobeda airlines, has also cemented its leading position after the economic trouble saw Russia’s second-biggest carrier Transaero stop flying last October due to financial problems.
From January to June, Aeroflot’s passenger volume accelerated by more than 10 percent to 19.7 million passengers, sending sales soaring by 27 percent.
EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation), a measure of the company’s operating performance, more than doubled to reach 30 billion rubles.
“We maintained tight control of operating costs to offset the ongoing effects of exchange rate fluctuations,” deputy CEO for commerce and finance Shamil Kurmashov said in a statement, highlighting measures to increase fuel efficiency.
“Our focus is on maintaining our current trajectory, and we hope that the positive net income in the reporting period will boost the financial outcome for the full year, allowing us to resume dividend payments to PJSC Aeroflot shareholders,” he added.
Analysts at VTB Capital said the results had “significantly outperformed” its forecasts.
“This level of outperformance during the low season implies that the company might deliver even stronger results for FY16,” they said in a statement.