Lufthansa will exercise option for BMI: finance director

German airline Lufthansa has decided to exercise an option to take a majority stake in British carrier BMI, Lufthansa finance director Stephan Gemkow said on Friday.

Lufthansa will exercise option for BMI: finance director

“We have decided to exercise the corresponding options,” he told a teleconference following the release of Lufthansa quarterly results.

Lufthansa currently holds 30 percent percent minus one share of BMI and has the possibility of acquiring – between December 2008 and June 2009 – the 50 percent plus one share stake held by BMI chief Michael Bishop.

BMI appeals to Lufthansa because it controls several take-off and landing slots at London’s Heathrow Airport, a key player in air traffic between Europe and the United States.

BMI’s other principal shareholder, the Scandinavian carrier SAS, has a 20 percent stake, which it wants to sell.

Lufthansa shares in mid-day trade here were up 4.20 percent at €18.10 ($28.22) on a generally stronger market after the group posted a huge rise in operating

profit owing to the successful integration of its subsidiary Swiss.

“Their key number, operating income, was better than our estimate,” said Citigroup analyst Andrew Light.

Late on Thursday, Lufthansa reported that operating earnings in the period from January to March had grown to €188 million ($295 million) from €36 million in the same period last year. Analysts had expected operating profit around €98 million.

“We had an excellent take-off into 2008,” a statement quoted Lufthansa chairman Wolfgang Mayrhuber as saying.

“We are on the right course, we are standing out from the crowd,” he added.

Lufthansa said that a “selective expansion of the route network and the successful integration of Swiss” contributed significantly to the results.

Lufthansa took Swiss under its wing in March 2005 to expand passenger traffic business amid consolidation of the European air travel sector.

Mayruber said at the time that the deal would generate one-off costs of €101 million but was also expected to generate annual synergies of €165 million from 2008.


Lufthansa fires up ‘jumbo jet’ for surge in German tourists bound for Mallorca

German airline Lufthansa said Friday it was taking "extraordinary measures" to meet surging bookings for the Spanish holiday island of Mallorca, deploying a jumbo jet to ferry passengers from Frankfurt.

Lufthansa fires up 'jumbo jet' for surge in German tourists bound for Mallorca
Tourists enjoy the first days of summer on the island of Mallorca. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/AP | Francisco Ubilla

The group said it had seen a jump in reservations from German sunseekers in recent weeks, as concerns about the pandemic ease thanks to falling infection numbers and vaccination progress across Europe.

To meet demand, Lufthansa said it would swap the 215-seat Airbus A321 that usually plies the Frankfurt-Mallorca route for its Boeing 747-8 “jumbo jet”.The 747, also known as the “Queen of the Skies”, can carry 364 people and is the largest plane in Lufthansa’s fleet.

The super-large planes normally fly transatlantic routes but have been
mostly grounded since the pandemic upended air travel.

READ ALSO: ‘I really needed a break’: Pandemic-weary Germans find freedom on Mallorca

“Lufthansa is taking extraordinary measures in order to respond to a significant increase in booking demand for flights to Palma de Mallorca,” the airline said in a statement.

The jumbo jet will be used for four weekends over July and August, it added, Europe’s key summer travel season.

Mallorca is one of the most popular tourist destinations for Germans and is sometimes affectionately referred to as Germany’s “17th state”.

Before the pandemic, around five million German tourists visited the island
each year.

READ ALSO: ‘Germans are coming back’: Spaniards sceptical over return of tourists