Lufthansa: Q2 Premium-Class Load Factors Above 2019

Despite a “challenging” first half of the year, Lufthansa Group turned a second-quarter net profit amid a continuing business travel recovery and a premium-class rebound, the company reported Thursday.

During the quarter, Lufthansa canceled hundreds of flights originally scheduled for July due to staff shortages, and the CEO wrote a letter of apology to passengers for disruptions to flights. On July 27, a one-day strike by union ground workers caused the carrier to cancel almost all of its flights in Frankfurt and Munich.

Nevertheless, Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr indicated the future should be brighter.

“The Lufthansa Group is back in the black,” Spohr said in a statement. “This is a strong result after half a year that was challenging for our guests, but also for our employees. Worldwide, the airline industry reached its operational limits. Nevertheless, we are optimistic about the future.”

Part of that optimism is related to the recovery of business travel.

In premium classes, Lufthansa’s load factor of 80 percent for the second quarter exceeded 2019’s 76 percent. This result was “driven by continued premium demand among private travelers and rising booking numbers among business travelers,” according to the company.

The group reported second-quarter net profit of €259 million (US$367.8 million). It reported Q2 total revenue of €8.46 billion, with passenger revenue of €6.83 billion, a 226 percent increase year over year. The company carried 29 million passengers during the second quarter, up from 7 million in Q2 2021.

Capacity increased about 162 percent during the first half of the year compared with one year prior, with the average for the first six months at 66 percent of its pre-pandemic level. For the second quarter, capacity was about 74 percent restored.

Lufthansa plans to expand capacity to about 80 percent of pre-pandemic levels during the third quarter as the company expects travel demand to remain high—bookings for August to December currently are at an average of 83 percent of 2019 levels. Full-year capacity is estimated to be 75 percent recovered.

The war in Ukraine had a negative effect on the company’s results due to the significant increase in jet fuel prices, however demand was “hardly affected.” Lufthansa also plans to hire about 5,000 new employees the second half of 2022, with a similar number of new hires planned for 2023.

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