Lufthansa on target for full-year profit despite weak first half

Lufthansa on target for full-year profit despite weak first half

Lufthansa is sticking to its forecast of making an operating profit in 2009, despite a flight from premium class leading to a mixed set of first half figures.

The German airline posted an operating profit of €8m for the first six months of 2009. It also made a net profit of €40m in the second quarter alone, down 88.1% from a year earlier but comfortably ahead of analyst forecasts of an €18m loss.

Sales fell 19.4% to €5.2bn in the second quarter, worse than the 14-percent drop expected while operating profit came to €52m, down almost 90%.

“The figures speak for themselves. Crises ruthlessly reveal the weak points and we shall act,” chief executive Wolfgan Mayrhuber said in the statement.

“Lufthansa is equally prepared for a further drop in demand and for the opportunities which would arise if competitors left the market,” he added.

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The airline carried 33.2 million passengers in the first six months of 2009, a decrease of 4.8% from the same period a year earlier.

Lufthansa’s freight division suffered as well, with a 20 percent drop in first-half traffic.

“We still cannot be satisfied with this result,” finance director Stephan Gemkow, added that the airline planned to cut costs in its passenger division by €1bn by 2012.

“We are fully determined to remain the best - also in a time of crisis and in significantly changing competition,” Gemkow said. “We are acting now in order to ensure success.”

The airline’s cost-cutting programme includes axing around 400 administrative posts in its passenger division.