Lufthansa wants to take off again

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Lufthansa posted a quarterly profit for the first time since the beginning of the corona pandemic. The group is still in a labor dispute, but is still optimistic and now wants to create more jobs.

After returning to profitability in the second quarter, Lufthansa now expects to be in the black in day-to-day business for the year as a whole. Adjusted operating earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) should reach more than half a billion euros in 2022, the company listed in the MDax announced on Thursday in Frankfurt. Above all, a further recovery in the passenger business should contribute to this.

So far, CEO Carsten Spohr had only promised an improvement in the operating result after the deep red numbers of the second Corona year 2021. However, due to the cancellation of thousands of flights, flight capacity in the current summer quarter is only expected to reach 80 percent instead of 85 percent of the pre-crisis level.

In the second quarter, Lufthansa generated sales of almost 8.5 billion euros, a good two and a half times as much as in the same period of the previous year, which was affected by the pandemic. A year earlier there had been a minus of 827 million euros. The bottom line is that Lufthansa earned 259 million euros after a loss of 756 million in the same period last year.

The long ones Waiting times due to a lack of staff on the ground demanded a lot of patience and understanding from the passengers

A long way to the pre-crisis level

Nevertheless, in view of the massive operational problems in air traffic, Lufthansa is ramping up flight operations in the summer more slowly than previously planned. From June to September, 80 percent of the capacity planned for the passenger airlines before the Corona crisis was 74 percent in the second quarter, according to the group. So far, 85 percent of the pre-crisis year 2019 has been targeted. For the year as a whole, it should continue to be 75 percent.

Due to staff shortages at airports and airlines, there is still a huge crunch when air traffic is ramping up in the summer travel boom after the pandemic crisis. The core Lufthansa brand alone has had to cancel more than 7,000 flights. The other two major network airlines, Air France-KLM and IAG, also reduced their plans for the summer quarter by five percentage points to 80 to 85 percent, based on all passenger flights.

In any case, the numerous flight cancellations at the beginning of the holiday season did not contribute to the relatively good result

Cargo ensures “strong result”

The good Lufthansa interim result was mainly driven by the logistics division, the individual airlines such as Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and Eurowings remained in the red. “Demand for freight capacity is still high, also due to ongoing disruptions in sea freight,” the group said. As a result, average earnings in the air freight industry are “still well above the pre-crisis level”.

Group CEO Carsten Spohr spoke of a “strong result” after a challenging half year for passengers and employees. Flight operations as a whole must now be further stabilized. Lufthansa is therefore optimistic about the rest of the year and expects an annual operating result of at least 500 million euros.

Leipzig/Halle Airport: While the number of passengers dropped, cargo handling increased significantly

A new strike as a brake?

All airlines in the Lufthansa Group have canceled flights in recent months in order to stabilize airport processes. But a warning strike by the Verdi union in the collective bargaining dispute over the wages of around 20,000 Lufthansa ground workers also led to more than 1,000 losses. Since June, this has been causing trouble for many travelers who finally want to travel abroad again after two years of the corona pandemic and then only reach their destination after long waiting times with considerable delays.

Collective bargaining for the approximately 20,000 Lufthansa ground staff will continue this Thursday. The third round of negotiations in the collective bargaining dispute was scheduled for two days from the outset. It was preceded by a nationwide warning strike on Wednesday last week, which paralyzed almost the entire Lufthansa flight schedule. In the event of non-agreement, Verdi negotiator Christine Behle has already threatened further industrial action during peak travel times.

Airline boss Spohr is still optimistic that an agreement can be reached in the wage dispute with the Verdi union for ground staff. “We are confident that we will reach an agreement,” he said on Thursday,

The Labor disputes with the ground staff have already cost a lot of money and nerves, with the pilots now threatening new Äeger

More employees again

“In addition to the achieved return to profitability, top products for our customers and prospects for our employees now have top priority again,” explained CEO Spohr when presenting the quarterly results.

The first half of the year is for passengers and employees, he went on to explain: “Globally, the airline industry was reaching its operational limits.” Nevertheless, the management is optimistic about the future. A few weeks ago, the Lufthansa boss apologized for having saved too much in one place or another.

After the massive downsizing in the Corona crisis, Lufthansa is now switching to recovery and growth with thousands new hires. In the second half of the year, around 5,000 employees are to be hired – in the cockpit, cabin and on the ground. So many more next year. During the Corona crisis, which caused air traffic to collapse, the airline group reduced the number of employees worldwide from around 139,000 to a good 100,000.

dk/hb (rtr, dpa, afp)