Fri, Mar 18, 2011 - Page 10 News List

Lufthansa expects higher profit and sales this year

AFP, FRANKFURT, GERMANY

The leading German airline, Lufthansa, forecast yesterday improved operating profit and sales for this year and next even though this year “will not be a walk in the park.”

For last year, the Lufthansa group reported an operating profit of 876 million euros (US$1.2 billion) on sales that reached 27.3 billion euros.

“The company expects a further increase in revenue and the operating result, and as things currently stand, the conditions for a dividend payout should also be fulfilled for this year,” a statement said.

For last year, the airline plans to pay a dividend of 0.60 euros per share.

However, Lufthansa chairman Christoph Franz stressed that “2011 will not be a walk in the park.”

Competition is getting tougher on routes in Europe and on those to Asia and the Americas, the company said.

In addition, a German air traffic tax will hit German and other European airlines, and their passengers, “where it hurts.”

Finally, the airline has to deal with fuel prices that “are at record levels,” as well as the consequences of political unrest, terrorist attacks and natural disasters.

Lufthansa has halted flights to Tokyo for example and is routing passengers via two other Japanese cities amid uncertainty over the extent of the country’s nuclear disaster.

The airline last week released many key results for last year, including a net profit of 1.1 billion euros, compared with a loss of 34 million euros in 2009.

Lufthansa is ordering 30 Airbus A320neos and five Boeing 777s worth US$4 billion at list prices as part of an ongoing “modernization and expansion” scheme, the German flag carrier said on Wednesday.

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