Russia´s Aeroflot Group reported a third-quarter net income of RUB29 billion ($450 million), more than doubled from RUB12.9 billion in the same period last year.

Revenue reached RUB212.5 billion, up 6% year-over-year (YOY), while operating profit decreased 4.9% to RUB47 billion.

“These results were achieved through the development of our revenue and expense management initiatives, launching new services to improve passenger comfort and maintaining strict cost control,” Aeroflot deputy CEO Andrey Chikhanchin said in a statement. “Along with simple decisions on the budgeting and financial control front, we implemented a number of initiatives to increase internal efficiency, including negotiations with partners to agree on more favorable financial terms.”

For the first nine months of 2019, net income reached RUB20.3 billion, a recovery from a RUB17.38 billion loss in the same period of 2018. Revenue increased 12.4% to RUB523.98 billion for the period and operating profit decreased 7.9% to RUB61.7 billion.

“The [nine-month] results should be considered in the context of external factors, including market trends during the first half of the year. The year began with consistently high fuel prices and FX [foreign exchange] pressures on the non-RUB component of our expenses, which contributed for our moderate results in the first half of 2019,” Chikhanchin said. “While there have been no sharp jumps during 2019, fuel costs remained significantly above the historical average. Given passengers’ limited purchasing power, this put additional pressure on the company’s financial results. In addition, in the second quarter, the closure of Pakistan's airspace led to additional fuel costs as flight times to destinations in Thailand, India and Vietnam increased.”

Operating costs excluding fuel grew 16.2% YOY in 3Q to RUB112.6 billion, while fuel costs decreased 2.3% to RUB52.9 billion. In the first nine months, operating costs reached RUB316.7 billion, up 18.4% YOY, fuel costs rose 10.3% to RUB145.6 billion.

Aeroflot Group is  Russia’s largest carrier. It includes flagship airline Aeroflot, based at Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport, as well as St. Petersburg-based Rossiya Airlines, Moscow Vnukovo-based LCC Pobeda Airlines and  Russian far east subsidiary Aurora Airlines. The group carried 18.5 million passengers in the third quarter, up 6.6% YOY. The nine-month traffic grew 10.6% to 46.7 million.

Polina Montag-Girmes,