Vietnam Airlines forecasts profit of $1.6 million

Hanoi (AFP) -- Vietnam Airlines has estimated a pre-tax profit of 1.6 million dollars for the first half, despite the global downturn and swine flu pandemic hitting global air travel.

Vietnam Airlines has estimated a pre-tax profit of 1.6 million dollars for the first half, despite the global downturn (AFP photo)

The figure compares with a loss of 4.65 million dollars in the same period last year, which was blamed on higher fuel prices, which surged in the first six months before diving as the economic crisis set in.

In a press statement on July 9, the flag carrier forecast revenue in the January-June period was 637 million dollars, compared with 680 million dollars last year.

The airline's business "had been seriously influenced by the world economic crisis and the type A (H1N1) epidemic... which reduced the demand for travelling by foreign passengers," it said.

Swine flu, classed as a pandemic by the World Health Organization, has infected more than 94,000 people and killed more than 400 around the world.

Despite the challenging global environment, Vietnam Airlines said it transported 0.6 percent more passengers, totaling 4.5 million, during the first half.

The carrier added that it did not have to reduce staff while many other international airlines had to lay off employees and scale down operations.

For the full-year 2008 it reported a pre-tax profit of 14 million dollars, picking up in the second half as fuel costs fell.

Vietnam Airlines expects to triple its fleet of 50 aircraft by 2020, and officials say it is seeking to become one of the region's leading carriers.

Source: AFP

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