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Swiss airline keeps flying into profit

Swiss International Air Lines remained in profit in the third quarter of 2009 despite a 61 per cent fall in operating profit compared with the same period in 2008.

The airline, now a daughter company of the German Lufthansa, announced on Thursday that the operating profit for July to September was SFr47 million ($46 million).

As a whole, over the first nine months of 2009, Swiss achieved an operating profit of SFr113 million, a drop of 70 per cent on last year.

The company said the results could be explained by a smaller demand for first- and business-class seating and the corresponding rise in economy-class demand. Fares were also being eroded, a situation which would only be partly reversed by any economic recovery, the statement added.

Since the beginning of the year the company has reduced its flights by five per cent.

Swiss CEO Harry Hohmeister described the results as good compared with the airline’s competition, and added that he expected that the company would stay in the black at the end of year, bucking the trend in the air industry.

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