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Travel industry news

30 Apr 2019

BY James Chapple

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Lufthansa posts huge first quarter loss as fuel costs bite

Lufthansa Group has plummeted into a €342 million first-quarter (Q1) net loss citing increasing fuel costs and short- and medium-haul overcapacity in Europe for its “depressed” earnings.

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Lufthansa posts huge first quarter loss as fuel costs bite

The German carrier, which revealed its full Q1 results following a preliminary report earlier this month, said fuel costs increased to €202 million, contributing to Q1 adjusted ebit (earnings before interest and tax) of -€336 million, down from €52 million this time last year.


Its Q1 net income, meanwhile, fell from -€39 million to -€342 million. Total QI revenue, however, increased to €7.9 billion, up 3% year-on-year.


Group chief financial officer Ulrik Svensson said: “Overcapacities, especially on short- and medium-haul European routes, substantially depressed our first-quarter earnings.”


However, he added he was confident unit revenues would recover in the second quarter, with the group experiencing “favourable booking levels for the months ahead”.


The group’s net financial debt has grown to around €5.8 billion, up from €3.5 billion this time last year, owing to a €1.2 billion investment in new cost and fuel-efficient aircraft.


Across the group’s airline network, it has revised down proposed capacity growth across low-cost European subsidiary Eurowings from 2% to flat on a quarterly loss of €257 million, a further decline on the -€212 million posted for Q1 2018.


Lufthansa said unit revenues were down 8.5% owing to “high pricing pressures” on short-haul routes. However, the group expects additional cost-saving measures to “reap their rewards” later this year.


Network Airlines, comprising Lufthansa, Swiss and Austrian Airlines, saw its collective Q1 earnings swing from €132 million to -€160 million amid “the difficult European market situation”, although the group reported “more encouraging trends” across its long-haul business serving Asia and North America.


Lufthansa says it still expects to report full-year revenue growth, year-on-year, of a “mid-single-digit percentage amount” and adjusted ebit of 6.5% to 8%.

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