The continuing economic downturn, the impact of the Sars virus and the Iraq war weakened demand in air traffic in the first half 2003. Nevertheless, Lufthansa increased its passenger count and maintained utilisation at a high level through flexible capacity management.
From January to June this year, 21.6 million passengers flew with the Group’s airlines, 2.6 per cent more than in the first half last year. While available capacity rose by 3.8 per cent, sales increased by 1.2 per cent. The generally difficult operating environment made it impossible to sell all the increased capacity in the market. Accordingly, the passenger load factor was down by 1.9 percentage points to 71.9 per cent.
The weak economy continued to affect cargo business. Lufthansa Cargo transported 4.4 per cent less freight and mail in the first half, with the result that the cargo load factor fell by 2.4 percentage points to 64.8 per cent.
The overall load factor (passenger and cargo business) at the Lufthansa Group dipped by 2.1 percentage points to 68.8 per cent.
The worst crisis yet in the air traffic industry has meanwhile bottomed out. At the end of June, Lufthansa promptly raised capacities on routes to North America and Asia in a rapid response to emerging market opportunities. In face of a pick-up in demand, flexible capacity management has also proved to be a special strength of the Lufthansa Aviation Group.
The Lufthansa Group will publish its first-half financial results for 2003 on 13 August. The first-half report will be available the same day in German and English on the net: www.lufthansa-financials.com