Lufthansa losses halve as bookings double

The Lufthansa Group reported a loss of €756 million for the three months to June taking losses for the first half of this year to €1.8 billion, half the loss of a year ago.

Lufthansa noted operating losses in the second quarter declined 43% year on year to €952 million as bookings returned.

Sales in the quarter were up 70% to €3.2 billion on the same period last year as the group benefited from “a significant market recovery”.

In a results statement, Lufthansa noted “high demand for tourist destinations and a gradual recovery of business travel [is] expected in the second half of the year”.

It reported bookings in June more than double the rate in April with capacity at 40% of the pre-crisis level by the end of June, up from 29% in April.

The group carried seven million passengers in the three months and reported a load factor of 58% in June due to the pick-up in demand on routes around Europe.

Group carriers Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Eurowings have now restored 84% of the network served pre-pandemic and will offer “nearly all destinations” by September. However, frequencies remain down.

Lufthansa chief executive Carsten Spohr said: “People have begun to travel and meet in person again. Air travel has begun to recover.”

He forecast “an increasing recovery in business travel [and] an increasing opening of markets in the second half of the year”, suggesting travel to North America should be possible again “from late summer” and to Asia “towards the end of the year”.

The group aims to operate about 50% of 2019 capacity through August and September, rising to 60% in the final three months of the year having expanded its range of long-haul flights “to include tourist destinations”.

It forecast a return to operating profit in the current quarter.

Spohr reported the loss of more than 30,000 jobs since the start of the crisis and said another 1,500 ground staff and 400 pilots in Germany would take redundancy, with 2,000 additional full-time jobs to go in Switzerland.

Lufthansa had €11 billion in liquidity available at the end of June, including unused funds from the German government’s stabilisation measures and loans of around €3.9 billion.

An additional €1 billion was raised by a bond issue in July. The group’s net debt was €8.9 billion.

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