Air France sees 70 million euros hit from weather

PARIS (Reuters) - Air France-KLM saw a 2 percent increase in passenger traffic in December after heavy snowfall across Europe and the U.S. that will shave an estimated 70 million euros ($90.36 million) off revenues, the airline group said on Monday.

Europe’s largest airline by revenues said the passenger load factor, or proportion of seats sold, rose 0.9 percentage points to 80.6 percent. Cargo traffic rose 2.1 percent as the load factor fell 1.7 points.

“The passenger and cargo activities were each affected by the periods of heavy snowfall ... The impact on revenues of these weather disruptions is estimated at 70 million euros,” Air France said in a statement.

British Airways said last week the underlying upward trend in passenger traffic remained intact despite a weather-induced downturn in December.

BA passenger traffic fell 8.3 percent compared with the same month of 2009, while cargo traffic fell 10.2 percent, reflecting a spate of flight cancellations after heavy snowfalls paralysed airports in Britain, the U.S. and Europe.

BA said it expected to take a 50 million pound hit from the disruption in its third quarter, with some further losses expected in January because of canceled return journeys.

($1=.7746 Euro)

Reporting by Lionel Laurent and Tim Hepher; Editing by Hans Peters