Aeroflot profits up on regional airlines turnaround

MOSCOW Mon Dec 2, 2013 2:45am EST

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MOSCOW Dec 2 (Reuters) - State-controlled Russian airline Aeroflot posted big increases in third-quarter sales and earnings on Monday as it turned around the performance of regional airlines it bought two years ago.

Quarterly net income rose 88 percent to $543.7 million, while revenues climbed to $2.9 billion from $2.4 billion a year earlier.

The airline's shares rose by 3 percent in early trading.

In a statement, Chief Executive Vitaly Savelyev highlighted attractive ticket pricing, cost control and the successful integration of regional carriers bought from state defence conglomerate Rostech in 2011 as reasons for the strong showing.

Savelyev forecast record passenger numbers at Aeroflot this year. The flag carrier has announced plans to launch a budget airline called Dobrolet next year.

Aeroflot, which flies 234 planes, was pinpointed as a privatisation target by the government but plans to complete a sale of stock this year have not panned out.

According to its latest plans, the government aims to reduce its 51.17 percent stake in the airline to 25 percent plus one share. (Reporting by Megan Davies; Editing by Douglas Busvine and Mark Potter)

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