Air France-KLM nosedived to €7.1bn ($8.5bn) in 2020 amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the company revealed in its 2020 yearly report on Thursday.
Last year “tested the Air France-KLM Group with the most severe crisis ever experienced by the air transport industry," chief executive Ben Smith said in a statement.
The news comes after the respective governments of the French-Dutch aviation giant pledged billions in aid to buoy revenues for the troubled travel season put on hold due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Cargo transport and flight schedule changes helped the firm to battle the fall in bookings, the company said.
According to the report, revenues plummeted 60.4 percent, or €9.2bn, including €2.1bn in restructuring and other measures the same year due to the pandemic.
But the carrier added it hoped for an improvement this year “as soon as vaccination is deployed on a large scale and borders once again reopen”.
2020 was also an "incredibly tough" year, company chief executive Pieter Elbers said, citing over 5,000 job cuts last year.
The statements come after the International Air Transport Association, representing 82 percent of all global traffic, reported in early February that traffic in 2020 sank 65.9 percent compared to the year before and international travellers were slashed 75.6 percent below 2019 levels. According to figures from the organisation, 2021 would improve by 50.4 percent but faced a "severe downside risk" if governments continued to impose severe travel restrictions to control the spread of coronavirus.
“This last is important. Even in corporate environments, it is very difficult to remove an underling for incompetence if that underling has seniority and a long history of good performance reviews. As in government bureaucracies, the easiest way to deal with such people is often to “kick them upstairs”: promote them to a higher post, where they become somebody else’s problem.”