German national carrier Lufthansa on Thursday reported it slashed its losses in the first quarter and set its sights on a record summer for tourist traffic as demand recovers from the pandemic.
The airline group’s net loss over the first three months of 2022 came to 584 million euros ($620 million), down from one billion euros in the same quarter last year.
The improved result owed in part to the pick up in air traffic as coronavirus-related restrictions were rolled back in many countries and fears over the Omicron variant ebbed.
The number of passengers on Lufthansa flights “more than quadrupled” in the first quarter to 13 million, from three million in 2021, when travel restrictions in many markets were more severe.
“New bookings are increasing from week to week,” Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr said in a statement, with demand rising particularly strongly among leisure travellers.
“More people are expected to fly on holiday with” the group than ever before this summer, Lufthansa said in a statement.
For business travel, the recovery was slower, with the group expecting traffic to reach “around 70 percent” of its pre-coronavirus level by the end of the year.
In all, Lufthansa expected to offer “around 75 percent” of its pre-crisis capacity over the year.
The group’s cargo division had a “record result” in the first quarter, Lufthansa said, as demand for freight remain high amid turmoil in global supply chains.
The segment recorded an operating profit of 495 million euros, up from 315 million euros in the first quarter of 2021.
Europe’s largest airline group — which includes Eurowings, Austrian, Swiss and Brussels Airlines — struggled at the outbreak of the pandemic and was saved from bankruptcy by a government bailout.
Lufthansa expected its financial performance “further improve in the coming quarters”, chief financial officer Remco Steenbergen said.
The group would however have to “pass through rising costs to customers”, Steenbergen said.
“Extreme changes in the price of kerosene” as energy costs surge in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine could have an unpredictable effect on the end of year result, Lufthansa said.
© Agence France-Presse