Aeroflot doubles third-quarter operating income

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Aeroflot's operating income more than doubled in the third quarter, rising from $327 million to $683 million, while revenue was up a fifth, at $2.9 billion.

In the nine months to 30 September, net income increased more than 80% to $545 million and revenue a sixth to $7.03 billion. Fuel costs meanwhile climbed 11% to $1.88 billion and non-fuel operating costs 10% to $4.31 billion.

Passengers numbers rose 15% in the nine-month period, to 24 million, while traffic, as measured in revenue passenger-kilometers, was up 16%, slightly outpacing the increase in group capacity.

The Russian carrier says the "strong financial results" were driven by an attractively priced premium product, effective cost management and optimisation of subsidiaries' operations.

It attributes an 8.6% nine-month fall in tonnes of cargo carried and 11% fall in cargo revenues to its suspension of dedicated freighter flights in favour of bellyhold operations.

As it prepares to launch its low-cost arm Dobrolet next year, Aeroflot says it views the LCC market as "a sizeable growth opportunity and a chance to diversify its business without the risk of cannibalisation".

Newly rolled out subsidiary Aurora, meanwhile, is seen by Aeroflot as presenting "a unique opportunity to achieve significant market share in the Far East where there are few alternatives to air travel".