The Finnair Group reported a first-half 2015 net loss of €15.8 million ($17.5 million), narrowed from a €52 million net loss in the year-ago period.

The airline attributed the improvement primarily to revenue growth in core business operations, progress in cost reduction measures and falling fuel prices.

Revenue was largely static for the period, down just 0.7% year-on-year to €1.1 billion, and an operating loss of €13.9 million represented a 74.5% improvement over 1H 2014.

Passenger numbers for the 2015 half-year increased 3.7% to 4.9 million, while ASKs were up 1.7% to 15.5 billion. RPKs were up 1.1% to 12.2 billion, while load factor dipped half a percentage point to 78.6%. Yield, however, improved 2.8%.

Finnair CEO Pekka Vauramo said: “Our passenger traffic revenue from tickets and ancillary services saw strong growth in the second quarter of 2015, and we achieved a new record in June by carrying more than 37,500 passengers in one day. Profitability improved significantly, although the operational result still showed a loss of €12.9 million. While we cannot be satisfied with our loss-making result, our financial position and liquidity are very strong. We are moving in the right direction and our strategy, which was updated in the spring, is clear. Our goal is profitable growth, which we will be better equipped to achieve once the Airbus 350 aircraft start joining our fleet later this year.”

Vauramo said the long-haul fleet renewal, which starts this fall, would enable gradual capacity growth and generate fuel cost savings. The airline has begun recruiting cabin crew “with a view to future growth,” he said.

In terms of its outlook for the rest of the year, Finnair estimates its 2015 operational result will be around breakeven or slightly positive, with a capacity increase of 3% for the year still on target. The airline still expects revenue for the full year to remain at 2014 levels but, contrary to its May forecast, now expects unit costs excluding fuel at constant currency to remain at—not below—2014 levels.