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Flag Carrier Expects to Make 2.7M Profit in 2014

Brnik, 21 May (STA) - Slovenian flag carrier Adria Airways is upbeat about its business results this year and expects to return to profit by the end of the year after it improved operating results in the first quarter.

The company, which is slated for privatisation, expects to end the year with a net profit of EUR 2.7m, company officials have told the STA.

The airline carried 188,594 passengers in the first quarter of the year, up 10% on the same period last year as strategy shifted to fewer flights with larger planes to better utilise capacities.

The company did not disclose the amount of first quarter operating profit or loss, but only said it was an improvement of EUR 2.1m compared to the same period last year.

While the comparable figure for the first quarter of last year is not available, the company reported a net loss of EUR 5.3m for Q1 2013.

Last year the carrier reduced net loss to EUR 3.1m from EUR 10.8m the year before, generating an operating profit of EUR 465,000. Passenger numbers were up 4% to 1,026,839.

The company is awaiting a decision over possible infringement of EU state aid rules in past recapitalisations by the state. The European Commission is expected to issue the decision in June.

The Finance Ministry has recently explained for the STA that Brussels has been concentrating on the most recent capital injection of EUR 50m of 2011.

Adria Airways plans to expand under the strategy by 2020 with the goal of increasing the number of passengers carried to up to two million a year, while nearing the model of low-cost carriers.

Several new destinations have been introduced this year, including flights from Ljubljana to London, Warsaw and Prague, as well as from Tirana, Albania, to Frankfurt, and from Prishtina in Kosovo to Malmö in Sweden.

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