KLM Group first-quarter figures for 2023: stability is the key
KLM Group generated revenues of €2,522 million in the first quarter of 2023 compared to €1,903 million in the same period last year. Although winter is the slow season for airlines, the demand for tickets remained relatively strong. People are obviously eager to travel and this was reflected in the first-quarter revenue per ticket. Restoring calm to operations and investing in our product, for example our new Premium Comfort Class and Wi-Fi on our European fleet, improved our customer satisfaction ratings. At the same time, we saw a surge in costs, one of the factors that led to an operating loss of €128 million.
Customers gave us a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 45 in the first quarter. This marks an improvement on our overall score of 37 for 2022, when passengers faced long queues, rescheduling and cancellations due to staff shortages.
KLM's focus in recent months has been on stabilising flight operations. We've hired 500 new ground employees and we schedule fewer flights if staffing levels so dictate. Adopting these measures means we can reduce the workload for employees and give our customers more certainty. I'm happy to see that our customers have noticed and appreciate our efforts. Passengers are also responding positively to the improvements in our product on board. We plan to continue making these investments as we go forward.
KLM recorded an operating loss of €128 million in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the €3 million operating profit in the first quarter of 2022, when it received €140 million under the Dutch government's emergency job-retention scheme (NOW).
Capacity management was KLM’s top priority at the start of new year. We adjusted the number of flights to the number of employees available both at Schiphol Airport and internally. Further complications included delays in component deliveries and the reduced operational deployability of the Embraer E2. As a result, total capacity (for both intercontinental and European flights) dropped to about 88% of capacity in 2019.
We see a number of trends reflected in these quarterly figures: the high price of jet fuel in the first quarter, lower-than-expected fleet capacity utilisation and the ongoing impact of the tight labour market on Schiphol Airport security and at KLM itself. All this meant that we were unable to operate as many flights as our customers wanted. As summer approaches, we expect to be able to increase capacity further.
We welcomed a total of 7.8 million passengers in the first quarter, 6.3 million at KLM and 1.5 million at Transavia. Transavia's results were impacted by the cap on the number of passengers boarding locally at Schiphol Airport. Cargo faced slightly weaker demand than in the first quarter of last year, leading to a drop in revenue from cargo transported on both passenger flights and freighters. Engineering & Maintenance continued to be troubled by supply chain issues, resulting in delays in the delivery of components.