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Russia's Aeroflot posts first quarterly profit in two years

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FILE PHOTO: St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF)
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  • OJSCY

(Reuters) - Russia's flagship airline Aeroflot reported on Monday its first quarterly net profit since 2019 as a recovery of domestic and international traffic accelerated.

Aeroflot, whose shares rose by 1.6% to 0941 GMT, said its net profit in the third quarter was 11.6 billion roubles ($155 million) compared to a loss of 21.14 billion roubles a year ago.

Aeroflot's domestic traffic has grown as Russia refrained from imposing a complete lockdown during a new wave of infections.

In the third quarter, Aeroflot's passenger numbers on the domestic market were 27.4% higher than the same period in 2019, before the pandemic.

"We also took maximum advantage of the gradual lifting of restrictions in the international segment, and this also had a significant positive impact on the results," Andrey Chikhanchin, Aeroflot’s Deputy CEO for Commerce and Finance, said.

Berenberg analysts said on Monday new lockdowns in parts of Europe and the spread of the new Omicron coronavirus variant threatened the global recovery in air travel.

Aeroflot's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) in the third quarter was 54.05 billion roubles, compared to 20.09 billion roubles a year ago.

The company said it planned to maintain strict cost control as its fuel costs jumped by 41.7% year on year in the first nine months of 2021.

Aeroflot said this month it would raise the fuel charge on its domestic and international routes because of rising jet fuel costs.

($1 = 74.9610 roubles)

(Reporting by Anna Rzhevkina; Editing by Edmund Blair)