Finnair is increasingly seeing the benefits of fleet renewal and a cost-efficiency program feed through to its bottom line, the company said July 20.

The Finnish flag carrier recorded a first-half net profit of €58.8 million ($67 million), a turnaround from a loss of €16.1 million for 1H 2016. The airline achieved the result on turnover up 7.4% year-over-year (YOY) at just under €1.2 billion.

Passenger numbers rose 7.5% YOY, to 5.7 million. Capacity, measured in ASKs, rose 3.5% to 17.2 billion, outstripped by a 9.6% jump in RPKs, to 14.2 billion. Load factor climbed 4.5% YOY to 82.6%.

Unit cost (CASK) increased by just 0.1%, while unit cost at constant currency excluding fuel rose 2.2% compared to the first six months of last year. A €20 million cost-reduction program was successfully completed by summer 2017.

Finnair CEO Pekka Vauramo said the airline was now growing at an accelerated pace: “We’re very satisfied that the revenue contributions came from all our revenue streams,” he said in an earnings call July 20. The growth in ancillary revenue—around 50% over the past three years—was noteworthy, he said, “and we feel there’s more to come.”

Wi-Fi has now been installed in the entire long-haul fleet and is being fitted to the short-haul aircraft, he added.

Vauramo said Finnair had seen “very robust growth” in both its Asian and European services, although transatlantic and domestic services had been flat.

The benefits of the growing number of Airbus A350s in the fleet are becoming more obvious, particularly where they have taken over from the A340, he said. Finnair now has 10 A350s in its inventory, with one more to arrive later this year. In addition, four leased A321s have been delivered so far in 2017, with three more of the type to be acquired by year-end.

Passenger satisfaction in Finnair had never been so high as today, he added.

Looking ahead, he said demand outlook for both passengers and cargo in Finnair’s main markets continued to involve uncertainty, but that capacity would, as previously intimated, grow at 8%-10% this year, with that growth strongly weighted toward the back end of the year.

Full-year revenue was expected to grow in line with capacity and, at current fuel and exchange rates, Finnair expected its comparable operating result for 2017 to broadly double 2016’s figure of €55 million.

Alan Dron