SHARE
COPY LINK

TRAVEL NEWS

Germany’s Lufthansa records first net profit since the start of pandemic

Lufthansa said Thursday its freight operations propelled the German airline group to its first net profit since the start of the coronavirus pandemic - despite the airline being plagued by chaos due to staff shortages and pay disputes.

An empty Lufthansa counter in Munich during a strike by ground staff on July 27th.
An empty Lufthansa counter in Munich during a strike by ground staff on July 27th. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Peter Kneffel

Between April and June, Lufthansa recorded a net profit of €259 million ($263 million), over one billion euros more than the same period last year and its first positive quarter since the end of 2019.

Lufthansa was “back in the black”, CEO Carsten Spohr said in a statement, describing the pandemic as “the most severe financial crisis in our history”.

The group – which includes Eurowings, Austrian, Swiss and Brussels Airlines – made huge net losses of €6.7 billion in 2020 and €2.2 billion in 2021 as the pandemic shut down large parts of the airline industry.

Lufthansa was saved from bankruptcy by a government bailout in June 2020.

The improved figures were lifted by a “record” result for Lufthansa Cargo, which has benefitted from high demand and “ongoing disruptions in ocean freight”.

The freight division booked an operating – or underlying – profit of €482 million in the second quarter, a 48-percent improvement on last year.

A “boom” in demand for travel saw the result for Lufthansa’s passenger airlines “improved significantly” though they remained in the red, with the exception of Swiss.

Amid recent chaos at airports, Lufthansa said it would start recruiting again, bringing 5,000 new employees on board.

It comes after the airline slashed over 30,000 jobs since the start of the pandemic, out of 140,000 positions globally.

READ ALSO: Lufthansa pays back German bailout early – but job cuts still stand

A shortage of workers has left airports and airlines struggling to process high numbers of passengers, after they cut back their operations during the pandemic.

Lufthansa is also caught in disputes over pay and conditions. Ground staff carried out a strike on July 27th, while there are also threats of strikes from the Vereinigung Cockpit union, which represents German pilots. 

READ ALSO: Why is flying in Germany so expensive and chaotic right now?

During the ground crew strike, Verdi union said staff needed more money because they were essentially burnt out after “two years of the pandemic and massive job cuts”, as well rising inflation. 

Despite the disruption and the clouded outlook for the economy, Lufthansa said it “expects demand for tickets to remain high for the remaining months of the year”.

For the whole of 2022 Lufthansa planned to offer 75 percent of its pre-crisis capacity on passenger airlines.

The group also put a number on an expected operating profit for the year, saying it anticipated a result “above 500 million euros”.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

TRAVEL NEWS

When will Germany’s €49 ticket start?

Germany announced a €49 monthly ticket for local and regional public transport earlier this month, but the hoped-for launch date of January 2023 looks increasingly unlikely.

When will Germany's €49 ticket start?

Following the popularity of the €9 train ticket over the summer, the German federal and state governments finally agreed on a successor offer at the beginning of November.

The travel card – dubbed the “Deutschlandticket” – will cost €49 and enable people to travel on regional trains, trams and buses up and down the country.

There had been hopes that the discount travel offer would start up in January 2023, but that now seems very unlikely.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about Germany’s €49 ticket

Martin Burkert, Head of the German Rail and Transport Union (EVG) now expects the €49 ticket to be introduced in the spring.

“From our point of view, it seems realistic to introduce the Deutschlandticket on April 1st, because some implementation issues are still unresolved”, Burkert told the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland. The Association of German Transport Companies, on the other hand, considers the beginning of March to be a realistic start date.

The only thing that seems clear regarding the start date is that it will be launched at some point in 2023.

Why the delay?

Financing for the ticket is continuing to cause disagreements between the federal and state governments and, from the point of view of the transport companies, financing issues are also still open.

Burkert from EVG said that the federal government should be prepared to provide more than €1.5 billion for the ticket if necessary.

“Six months after the launch of the Deutschlandticket at the latest, the federal government must evaluate the costs incurred to date with the states and, if necessary, provide additional funding,” he said. 

READ ALSO: OPINION: Why Germany’s €49 travel ticket is far better than the previous €9 ticket

Meanwhile, Deutsche Bahn has warned that the network is not prepared to cope with extra demand. 

Berthold Huber, the member of the Deutsche Bahn Board of Management responsible for infrastructure, told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper that a big part of the problem is the network is “structurally outdated” and its “susceptibility to faults is increasing.” 

Accordingly, Huber said that there is currently “no room for additional trains in regional traffic around the major hub stations” and, while adding more seats on trains could be a short terms solution, “here, too, you run up against limits,” Huber said.

SHOW COMMENTS