Air Berlin losses widen in second quarter

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Air Berlin saw its second-quarter operating loss widen to €32.2 million ($46.1 million) compared to the operating loss of €28.2 million recorded in the same period a year ago.

The carrier posted a pre-tax loss of €79.4 million, compared to the €68.2 million pre-tax loss incurred in the second quarter of 2010. After a tax benefit for the period of €35.5 million, net result for the quarter was a reduced loss of €43.9 million compared to a deficit of €56.9 million for the same period a year earlier.

Revenue for the Air Berlin Group over the quarter rose 27.3% to €1.12 billion, with operating expenses rising 25.4% to €1.15 billion. Since 1 July 2010, the company has incorporated figures from Austrian carrier Niki in its results.

A combination of the political strife in North Africa, high fuel costs and Germany's air travel tax - the cost of which reached approximately €45 million over the quarter - contributed to the loss, said the company.

Looking to the future it described the factors as "a continuing burden".

To combat these, it is in the process of cutting unprofitable routes, reducing some frequencies and shrinking capacity by more than 1 million seats in the second half of the year.

However, it warned that the effects of these measures might not be enough to return the airline to profit by the end of 2011.