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Air Berlin plans to add capacity in 2010

Source: Reuters - Fri 20th Nov 2009

Air Berlin said it expected to make less money per seat sold in the fourth quarter after pushing through price increases in the first nine months of the year.

Air Berlin said on Thursday its average yields - measured by the revenue per km travelled by paying passengers - improved by almost 8 percent in the third quarter compared with a year earlier, to 8.24 euro cents.

In October, however, they eased and the decline will continue until the end of the year, Germany's second-biggest airline after Lufthansa said. Analysts have been eyeing yield developments at the world's airlines for signs of a recovery in demand for air travel. Lufthansa posted a 12.9 percent decline in third-quarter yields.

Industry body IATA said last month it was still too early to talk about a recovery as yields continued to be a "disaster". IATA has said it sees the world's airlines losing $11 billion this year as consumers tightened their purse strings and companies cut travel budgets.  

Nonetheless, Air Berlin said it still expected its 2009 earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) to exceed the 2008 level. Adjusted for accounting changes, the carrier last year posted EBIT of 33 million euros ($49.40 million).

Air Berlin had already published key third-quarter results late on Wednesday, saying net profit more than doubled to 95.2 million euros, more than the average analyst estimate of 74 million in a Reuters poll. Shares jumped more than 8 percent in response.

Revenues were in line with expectations, having declined about 8 percent to 974 million euros.

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