PAL posts $72-M income, warns of fuel prices denting profits

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 22 2011 06:35 PM | Updated as of Jul 23 2011 02:36 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Lucio Tan-owned Philippine Airlines (PAL) posted a turnaround during its recent fiscal year, but it warned the continued increase in crude prices may affect profits in the coming months.

In a financial filing, the country's flag carrier said it registered a total comprehensive income of $72.5 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011 as recognized revenues went up 23% to $1.67 billion.

It said passenger and cargo traffic grew 12.4% and 41.8%, respectively, on the back of a rebound in travel following the global financial crisis.

"While PAL is pleased with its recent positive performance, the airline remains watchful of the year ahead as fuel prices continue its upward trend," PAL said, noting that jet fuel prices averaged $102.89 per barrel during the reported period compared to $86.94 per barrel the year before.

Jet fuel was also PAL's biggest expense, rising 29.9% in the last fiscal year to $142 million. Total expenses of the airline were up 19% at $1.61 billion.

Aside from oil prices, PAL said the slowdown in traffic demand for leisure travel, the devastating disasters in Japan and the political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa pose "a serious threat" to its bottom line.