Spain's biggest airline Iberia has reported a 70% drop in net profits to €116m last year because of increased fuel costs.

The carrier's 2005 results were inflated by the sale of the firm's stake in travel services company Amadeus and other one-off items.

Iberia's sales rose 10.5% to €5.46 billion in 2006  boosted by a rise in passenger traffic, particularly in long-haul and business class.

Fuel costs jumped 36% to €1.17 billion but this was  partially offset by a 3.3% drop in staff costs and a 5.2% fall in marketing costs.

Iberia, a member of the Oneworld alliance which includes American Airlines and British Airways, flies to over 100 destinations in more than 40 countries and is the leading carrier  between Europe and Latin America.