Aeroflot sees 2011 profit soar

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Aeroflot saw pre-tax profit soar to $585.3 million in the year to 31 December against $353.5 million in the same period a year earlier.

Revenue also grew to $5.3 billion, up on 2010's figure of $4.3 billion. However, operating profit slipped to $388.3 million, compared with $481.1 million for the prior period according to accounts posted on the carrier's website.

Rising fuel costs were mainly to blame for the erosion of operating profit, increasing to $1.5 billion from $943 million in 2011. Other operating expenses grew to $2.5 billion from $2 billion a year earlier.

Revenue growth was driven by the scheduled passenger operation which grew to $4.1 billion from $3.3 billion in 2010, while revenues from the charter and cargo operations fell to $78.1 mill and $83.7 million respectively.

Aircraft pre-payments were also up sharply to $432.9 million from $235.9 million in 2010 on the back of new orders last year, including for 16 Boeing 777-300ERs. In the period to 2019 the airline will add a total of 81 new jets to its fleet. These include the 777s, 22 787s, 22 Airbus A350s, 16 Sukhoi Superjet 100s, and five A321s. Deliveries of the long-awaited 787s are still scheduled to begin in 2014, it says.

Aeroflot has an in-service fleet of 212 aircraft, including both Soviet and Western types.

During the period, Aeroflot acquired a controlling stake in five domestic provincial carriers, Rossiya, VladivostokAvia and Saratov Airlines, Sakhalin Airways and OrenAir from state corporation Rostekhnologii in exchange for a 3.5% share of the enlarged Aeroflot.

All five carriers had liabilities exceeding their assets, according to Aeroflot's accounts.