Air Berlin turns profit in 2012 on non-recurring events

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German short-haul carrier Air Berlin today announced achieving a net profit in 2012 for the first time in five years, as investment by a new owner and cost reductions overcame higher fuel costs.

One year after posting a re-stated annual loss of $555 million (€420.4 million), Germany's second-largest carrier earned a net income of $8.98 million in 2012, Air Berlin says.

The annual results pleased Air Berlin chief executive Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, especially amidst increasing competition and fuel costs rising by nearly $106 million. But he also warned that the positive outcome in 2012 is not sustainable without further improvement.

"We have not yet reached our target and are mindful that non-recurring events also contributed to the result," Prock-Schauer says.

The airline improved revenue per passenger year-on-year by 7.7% to nearly $159. Load factors also improved 1.6 percentage points to 79.8%, while fleet shrank by 8.82% to 155 aircraft.

Load factors grew as the new ownership stake by Etihad Airways brought 219,000 passengers worth $66 million in new revenue into the German airline's network, Air Berlin says.