Moscow / AFP
Russia’s flagship carrier Aeroflot said it had reduced its loses in 2015, as the country’s airlines continue to grapple with the fallout of Russia’s economic crisis.
The majority state-controlled company registered a net loss of 6.5 billion rubles ($88 million, 80 million euros) down from some 17
billion rubles in 2014 and ahead of analyst predictions.
“The complex macroeconomic situation had a significant influence on the financial results of the group during the whole year,” a company statement said.
“In response to the worsening of external factors, we carried out a range of measures to optimise our fleet and cut costs,” it said.
Most of the losses were down to a spike in operating costs due to the weak ruble against the dollar, with leasing costs rising by over 86 percent.
Russia’s aviation industry has struggled in the face of the country’s economic crisis with overall passengers numbers dropping by some six percent last year as the fall in the ruble and recession eat into people’s spending power.
The economic trouble saw Russia’s second-biggest carrier Transaero stop flying last October due to financial problems.
Aeroflot, however, said that its total passenger volume had increased by 13.4 percent from 2014 to 39.4 million passengers, although the number of international travellers had dropped by some 6.2 percent. The uptick appeared down to the development of Aeroflot’s low-cost carrier Pobeda and the disappearance of its main rival Transaero from the market.
Aeroflot is the flag carrier and largest airline of the Russian
The carrier operates domestic and international passenger and services, mainly from its hub at Sheremetyevo International Airport.
Aeroflot is one of the oldest airlines in the world, tracing its history back to 1923. During the Soviet era, Aeroflot was the Soviet national airline and the largest airline in the world. Following the dissolution of the USSR, the carrier has been transformed from a state-run enterprise into a semi-privatised company which ranked 19th most profitable airline in the world in 2007.
It is 51 percent-owned by the Russian Government. As of September 2013, the Aeroflot Group had 30,328 employees.