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Air France-KLM posts net profit despite costs

The Franco-Dutch carrier said net profit slipped 16% to 748 million euros in 2007-08. Chairman Jean-Cyril Spinetta said he was banking on operating income to reach €1bn in 2008-09, despite a strong euro and soaring fuel costs.

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Air France-KLM said Thursday it is aiming for operating income in 2008-2009 of one billion euros (1.58 billion dollars) despite record oil prices.

"The current year is set to be challenging, with the oil price and global economy creating significant uncertainty," chairman Jean-Cyril Spinetta told the Paris-based air carrier's board of directors, a company statement said.

But thanks to "strategic advantages", efficient fuel hedging, rigourous cost control and ongoing post-merger synergies, Air France-KLM will remain "comfortably in profit," he said.

"Under these conditions, and based on an oil price of 120 dollars per barrel, our objective is of an operating income in the region of one billion euros."

Operating profits in the year to March 31 were 1.405 billion euros, up 13.3 percent on 2006-2007, on revenues of 24.1 billion euros, despite a fourth-quarter operating loss of 46 million euros.

Air France-KLM was created in 2004 by the merger of Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

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