Thanks to freight, Lufthansa returns to earnings, a first in more than two years

Lufthansa’s accounts are back in the green. A first since the Covid-19 pandemic. The leading European air transport group forecasts operating profit of at least 500 million euros for 2022, against an average analyst forecast of 569 million euros. Rivals Air France-KLM and IAG, owner of British Airways, also announced a return to second-quarter profits last week, driven by the recovery in demand and the end of travel restrictions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. 19.

Strong demand in air freight

This recovery is driven by strong demand for air freight which enabled the German carrier to achieve its first net profit in two years in the second quarter. Lufthansa thus posted an adjusted profit before interest and taxes (Ebit) of 393 million euros for the three months until the end of June, thanks to this strong recovery in the transport of goods by air, the group said. Benefiting in the second quarter from demand and still high prices in freight transport, its cargo branch generated 482 million euros in operating profit in the second quarter, up year-on-year, obtaining an operating profit of almost 1 billion in the first half. Its technical subsidiary generated 100 million euros in the second quarter.

The Lufthansa Group is back in the green “, welcomed the patron, Carsten Spohr, in a press release. ” It is now a matter of continuing to stabilize operations. »

Persistent difficulties in the transport of passengers

On the other hand, the passenger transport activity recorded a loss. The result of the group’s airlines – Lufthansa, Austrian, Swiss, Eurowings and Brussels Airlines – remains in the red. Accounts are weighed down by airport disruptions and staff shortages. In detail, the passenger business recorded an operating loss of 86 million euros in the second quarter, compared to 1.2 billion in 2021. However, this loss was less significant than the 228 million euros forecast by the analysts. Between April and June, cancellations and delays cost 158 ​​million euros. Over the first six months, airlines remain in the red by 1.2 billion euros in total, with only Switzerland having made a meager operating profit of 45 million.

The airline group, which, like other European companies, canceled thousands of flights this summer in the face of the disorder that has spread to airports, has also slightly lowered its traffic expectations in the third quarter, which promises to be more complicated. The airline company said it would only operate at around 80% of its pre-health crisis capacity in the third quarter, less than expected, amid staff shortages. The group, which has cut more than 30,000 jobs since 2020, however plans to hire 5,000 people in the second half.

The aviation sector, particularly in Europe, is struggling to cope with the rapid rebound in demand, which has led to huge queues at many airports, as well as last-minute cancellations due to lack of staff. Lufthansa was thus faced with a one-day strike by its ground staff at the end of July, leading to the almost total cessation of operations at its two main airports, Frankfurt and Munich.

(With AFP and Reuters)