Profits at Air France-KLM Group nosedived in the summer quarter in the face of geopolitical uncertainties and a “challenging” global economy.

The European airline combine saw net profits drop by €420 million to €366 million in the three months to September 30.

The quarterly operating result of €900 million was down by €165 million with fuel costs up by €135 million.

The group was impacted by a stronger dollar by the end of September and €100 million in costs from the phasing out of Airbus A380 superjumbos.

Both Air France and KLM were hit by lower revenues and a rising fuel bill over the equivalent three months last year despite passenger carryings rising by 2.1% to 29.1 million.

Revenue on the group’s Asian network fell by 2.8% due to weak traffic levels to China and protest-hit Hong Kong.

And the company warned: “The global economic and geopolitical context remains uncertain and the group operates in a highly competitive marketplace.”

However, long-haul forward booking load factors for the winter are ahead on average compared to last year.

The 2019 full year fuel bill is expected to rise by €600 million to €5.5 billion.

CEO Benjamin Smith said: “Air France-KLM Group’s performance in the third quarter showed resilience amid geopolitical uncertainties and softening macro-economic environment.

“Operationally, we achieved a solid performance during the summer peak travel period. Air France and KLM ranked in the top European legacy carriers in terms of punctuality.

“Based on long-haul forward bookings on average ahead of last year and renewed commitment to a strict cost discipline, we are confident that we can deliver on our annual objectives of reduced unit cost and stable leverage ratio.

“All the group’s employees are mobilised to ensure the success of our strategic ambitions, which we will further outline on the occasion of the upcoming investor day next week.”