Air France-KLM beats forecasts with return to profit

An Air France Airbus A321 aircraft takes off at the Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Roissy, near Paris, October 27, 2015. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

PARIS (Reuters) - Franco-Dutch airline Air France-KLM AIRF.PA beat forecasts with a return to profit last year, helped by a drop in the fuel bill and growth in passenger traffic.

The carrier achieved an operating profit of 816 million euros ($909 million), compared with a loss of 129 million in 2014, it said in a statement on Thursday. This beat the average forecast of 544 million in a Reuters poll.

The airline forecast a reduction of between 0.8 percent and 1.2 percent in unit costs, “further significant net debt reduction” and free operating cash flow generation after disposals of between 0.6 billion and 1.0 billion euros in 2016.

Reporting by James Regan and Cyril Altmeyer; Editing by Alister Doyle