Austrian Airlines expects to break even in 2012 due to the one-off effects of transferring its operations over to low-cost subsidiary Tyrolean Airways in July. However, the carrier cautions that a full return to profitability will not be achieved before next year.
Revenue at the Viennese airline was up 6.4% to €1.65 billion ($2.14 billion) between January and September 2012, compared with the same period last year.
While the carrier made an operating loss of €31.5 million in the first nine months of 2011, it generated an adjusted operating profit of nearly €6 million this year.
This figure does not include one-off effects due to the transfer of Austrian's flight operations to its regional subsidiary Tyrolean, which employs its staff at a lower cost than the mainline carrier.
Austrian says that the transfer has "slowed down automatically rising" costs. If the one-off effects are included in the calculation, the nine-month operational profit rises to €73 million.
Staff numbers were down about 7.5% to 6,320 employees at the end of September.
For the third quarter alone, operational profit almost doubled from €31.6 million to €61 million. The airline says this was due to a combination of higher load factors and the early impact of the restructuring plan.
Capacity has been cut by 2.5% while RPK traffic rose by 2.1%.
Austrian anticipates an operating loss for 2012 on an adjusted basis. With the beneficial one-off effects included, however, the airline expects to make an operating profit.
The ongoing replacement of Austrian's Boeing 737-800s with Airbus A320s is expected to be completed by the beginning of the summer 2013 schedule.