Air France-KLM Quarterly Profit Triples

Dynamic passenger traffic helped Air France-KLM triple its net profit in its third quarter despite a rising fuel bill, the world's largest airline by revenue said Wednesday, confirming its outlook for the fiscal year ending March 31.

Air France-KLM reported net profit of 229 million euros ($298 million) for the October-December period, up from 77 million euros a year earlier and well above the 140 million euros ($182 million) expected by analysts.

Operating profit rose 32.6% to 252 million euros ($328 million) in the third quarter, in line with the 253 million euros average forecast of analysts, on a 5.9% rise in revenue to 5.75 billion euros ($7.49 billion).

In a statement, Air France-KLM said it expected to break even in the fourth quarter, assuming a fuel bill for the January-March period of 1.02 billion euros ($1.33 billion).

That would leave the airline's net profit for the year at the 847 million euros ($1.1 billion) reported for the first nine months of the year, and operating profit above the 1.23 billion euros ($1.6 billion) posted for the same period.

Previously Air France-KLM had forecast a "significant rise" in operating profit this year, compared with the 936 million euros ($1.22 billion) it reported last year. The company is scheduled to report its fourth-quarter earnings May 24.