Higher than expected demand for in-seat power products coupled with an aggressive cost-cutting programme helped to drive improved first quarter earnings at Astronics.

The company posted a first quarter net profit of $3.4 million compared to the $1.4 million profit it recorded in the year-earlier quarter. Sales were down 6.2% to $46.9 million. Consolidated bookings in the first quarter totalled $54.3 million, an increase of 76% over the first quarter of 2009.

"The improved margins were a result of higher margins in our aerospace segment as leverage was achieved from increased sales volumes and reductions to our cost structure, as well as a favourable sales mix compared with the first quarter of last year," says Astronics, noting that first quarter sales for the unit were $43.2 million, up $1.4 million, or 3% year-over-year.

Airlines increased their procurement and installation of in-flight entertainment and in-seat power systems, says Astronics. However, sales to the business jet market "were 20% below last year's first quarter due to reduced volumes, as the business jet manufacturers' build rates were lower than last year and demand for our products decreased".

Company president and CEO Peter Gundermann says: "We are also encouraged with the bookings level which gives us increased confidence for the rest of the year."

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news