ALTA 2010: Aerolineas eyes return to profitability in 2011

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Aerolineas Argentinas is on course to return to profitability in the second half of 2011 as the renationalised carrier continues to grow revenues and improve its financial performance.

Aerolineas chief commercial officer Juan Pablo Lafosse says Aerolineas in 2009, the first full year after the carrier was renationalised, generated $800 million in revenues and incurred a $480 million loss. He says this year Aerolineas is on pace to increase revenues by over 50% to $1.25 billion and incur a loss of about $300 million. Capacity at Aerolineas is up about 20% on a year-over-year basis while RASK is up about 25%.

While Aerolineas' new management team began to implement its turnaround plan in 2009, major elements were not introduced until early this year, including its increased focus on short and medium-haul international routes and the shift of these routes from Ezeiza to Aeroparque airport. Other elements of the turnaround plan such as its fleet renewal and entrance into a global alliance are still ongoing and will not be completed until 2011 or 2012.

Lafosse says financially the SkyTeam-bound carrier is now ahead of the original turnaround plan, which envisioned profitability from 2012. "We believe by the end of next year we'll be back to profitability," he told ATI at the ALTA 2010 Airline Leadership Forum.

Lafosse says the budget for 2011 envisions revenues growing to $1.75 billion.

Aerolineas saw revenues steadily drop during its last few years under private ownership. Lafosse says revenues have now fully recovered and in April, May, June, July and August the carrier generated all-time record monthly revenues.