Lufthansa says will meet profit target despite fuel costs

German airline Lufthansa said on Wednesday that it expected to meet its operating profit target this year despite rising fuel prices.

Lufthansa board “confirms its outlook that the group’s operating result for the full year 2008 will follow up on the previous year’s record level,” of €1.38 billion ($2.1 billion), it said ahead of a meeting with analysts and investors.

“The current environment, particularly the high kerosene prices, does however represent a considerable challenge for the airline industry,” it added in a statement.

Lufthansa estimated that fuel expenses for the full year would come to around €5.6 billion, but planned to offset that through “efficiency gains, cost savings as part of a package of measures which has already been initiated and fuel surcharges.”

“Lufthansa remains confident that the demand for mobility will continue to increase and that despite fluctuations air traffic will carry on growing,” the statement said.

The news boosted shares in Lufthansa, with early trading showing a gain of 1.18 percent to €14.62 in Frankfurt, while the Dax index of German blue-chips was up by 0.50 percent overall.