February 16, 2017 / 6:23 AM / a year ago

Air France-KLM profit beats expectations, eyes more cost cuts

BERLIN, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Air France-KLM reported better than expected operating profits for 2016 and said it had made a “resilient” start to 2017 as it promised further cost-cutting efforts this year.

The Franco-Dutch carrier reported a 2016 operating result of 1.05 billion euros ($1.1 billion), better than analyst expectations for 969 million euros, and helped by low fuel prices and efforts to restrict the number of extra seats it put on the market.

It said that while there was a high level of uncertainty around revenues from tickets, unit revenue had fallen by just 0.7 percent in January, compared with a decline of 5 percent for 2016 as a whole.

“Unit revenues are more reasonable at the start of 2017 than for 2016,” Chief Financial Officer Frederic Gagey told journalists, saying it was too early to extrapolate it to the rest of the year.

He said Air France-KLM was aiming to reduce costs by at least 1.5 percent this year, after a fall of 1 percent last year.

$1 = 0.9416 euros Reporting by Victoria Bryan and Cyril Altmeyer; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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