‘Unpleasant steps worth the effort’, says Lufthansa

Lufthansa group reported an operating loss of €20 million in the first half of the year and plans further capacity cuts.

The figure represented a €134 million improvement against the same period last year despite its fuel bill soaring by 22% to €3.6 billion.

Routes from Gatwick, Casablanca, Larnaca, Palma and Naples to Frankfurt are being dropped this winter in addition to the phasing out of older aircraft.

“The capacity measures implemented in the first half-year, along with higher traffic revenue, did have a positive effect on the company’s earnings, but were not able to make up for higher fuel expenses and costly increases of fees and charges,” the group said.

“High fuel costs, persistent price pressure, the air traffic tax payable in Germany and Austria and fees for emissions trading certificates all diminished the group’s profit.”

Lufthansa German Airlines reported a doubling in operating losses of €300 million for the first six months.

Subsidiary SWISS remained profitable, with an operating profit of €48 million. But high fuel costs and the strong Swiss franc meant that this was well below the result for the same period last year of €104 million.

Austrian Airlines completed restructuring which enabled an operating loss of €64 million for the first half of last year to be pulled around to an operating profit of €26 million in the first six months of 2012.

Lufthansa chief financial officer Simone Menne said: “By acting systematically, we want to ensure that we can continue to invest for our customers, secure and create jobs for our staff and maintain our profitable growth.

“We cannot avoid taking some unpleasant steps, but they will not comprise quality.

“The positive earnings performance and the lower unit costs in the second quarter give us confidence that it is worth the effort.”

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