Finnair posts first quarterly profit in two years

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Finnair has managed to post its first profitable quarter, after seven successive loss-making quarters, turning in an operating surplus of nearly €42 million ($58 million) for the three months to 30 September.

Its turnover for the period increased by 26% to €551 million as passenger traffic climbed by 1.1% and the carrier cut unit costs by 3.8%.

Finnair raised capacity by 2.5% which brought load factor down by 1.1 points to 78.5%.

The airline's operational cash flow for the quarter was €48 million.

Finnair's third-quarter result means it scraped an operating profit for the first nine months of €2 million, although the carrier still posted a pre-tax loss of €23 million.

"The perceived profit trend in Finnair is encouraging but long-term success requires systematic and continuous work to improve cost-competitiveness," says chief executive Mika Vehvilainen.

He says the impact of efficiency measures is "evident" in cost items such as the transfer of €24 million from personnel expenses arising from the outsourcing of baggage-handling and cargo-warehousing activities.

Finnair is expecting the fourth quarter to be profitable but says that it will nevertheless be "significantly weaker" than the third.