Lufthansa has reported a three-fold increase in profits, adding weight to expectations of a recovery in the global aviation sector.
The German flag-carrier reported third quarter net profits of €628 million - far higher than the €390 million forecast by analysts.
Operating profit for the period soared to €783 million, more than €500 million more than the figure reported for the same period last year, Lufthansa said in a statement to markets this morning.
“The good result is the consequence of the increasingly positive development of demand in passenger and freight traffic,” the airline explained.
In-house cost-cutting and synergy within its group of airlines had also driven profits, the airline added.
“The Lufthansa Group has successfully flown through the economic and financial crisis,” said outgoing chairman Wolfgang Mayrhuber.
Mr Mayrhuber will be replaced by Christoph Franz in January.
In 2009 Lufthansa launched a drive to slash €1billion in spending by the end of 2011, sparking tensions with staff including pilots, who went on strike in February.
The Lufthansa group also owns Austrian Airlines, Swiss, Britain’s BMI and Germanwings.
Both Austrian Airlines and British Midland also posted a quarterly profit - the first since their purchase last year.
Operating income in the three months ended Sept 30th reached €23 million at Austrian Airlines and €3 million at British Midland.
Lufthansa has cut almost 1,300 jobs at Austrian, reducing the workforce to just over 7,000, and said today the unit is on target for a full-year operating profit next year.
The German company has also slashed 800 of 4,500 positions at British Midland following its acquisition and predicts the division will achieve an annual profit in 2012.
“The recovery of the market has helped us to record positive results in all of the business segments,” added Mr Mayrhuber.
Following the results Lufthansa offered an optimistic outlook for the remainder of the year - barring an economic slowdown or a major hike in fuel prices.
The company now expects 2010 operating profit to exceed €800 million, driven mainly by a strong rebound in long-haul passenger and freight traffic as well as reduced costs.