Lufthansa actually wants to increase the flight offer, which was severely reduced in the Corona crisis, again. But the chaos in the handling of the flights forces the airline to proceed more cautiously than planned. Despite all the quarrels, a quarterly profit is achieved again after a long time.
In view of the massive operational problems in air traffic, Lufthansa is ramping up flight operations in the summer more slowly than previously planned. From June to September, 80 percent of the capacity before the Corona crisis is planned for the passenger airlines, after 74 percent in the second quarter, Lufthansa said. So far, 85 percent of the pre-crisis year 2019 has been targeted. For the year as a whole, it should continue to be 75 percent.
Due to staff shortages at airports and airlines, there is a huge crunch when air traffic ramps up in the summer travel boom after the pandemic crisis. The core Lufthansa brand alone has had to cancel more than 7,000 flights. The other two large network airlines Air France-KLM and IAG also reduced their plans for the summer quarter by five percentage points to 80 to 85 percent, based on all passenger flights.
The first half of the year was challenging for passengers and employees, explained Lufthansa boss Carsten Spohr. "Around the world, the airline industry was reaching its operational limits." Nevertheless, the management is optimistic about the future. A few weeks ago, the Lufthansa boss apologized for having saved too much in one place or another.
All airlines in the Lufthansa Group have canceled flights in recent months in order to stabilize airport processes. But a warning strike by the Verdi union in the collective bargaining dispute over the wages of around 20,000 Lufthansa ground workers also led to more than 1,000 losses. Since June, this has caused trouble for many travelers who finally want to travel abroad again after two years of the corona pandemic and then only reach their destination after long waiting times with considerable delays.
The flight chaos caused 158 million euros in compensation payments to customers in the second quarter, the airline said. On the other hand, with higher occupancy, average revenues, an indicator for ticket prices, rose by 24 percent compared to the same period last year and were even ten percent above the pre-crisis level. With the exception of the Swiss subsidiary Swiss, all passenger airlines posted losses in the second quarter.
Thanks to the boom in air freight, the freight subsidiary Lufthansa Cargo once again saved the result. Adjusted for special effects, Lufthansa earned 393 million euros from April to June after a loss of 827 million euros a year ago. For the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic, the company made a net profit - the bottom line was that Lufthansa earned 259 million euros.
Since air freight continues to benefit from the massive disruption in sea freight due to the corona pandemic, Lufthansa is confident for the first time that it is capable of a quantified annual forecast of operating profit - more than 500 million euros are expected. This is in line with market expectations. "In addition to the achieved return to profitability, top products for our customers and prospects for our employees now have top priority again," explained CEO Spohr.
After massive staff cuts in the Corona crisis, Lufthansa is switching to recovery and growth with thousands of new hires. In the second half of the year, around 5,000 employees are to be hired - in the cockpit, cabin and on the ground, and as many again next year. During the Corona crisis, which caused air traffic to collapse, the airline group reduced the number of employees from around 139,000 worldwide to a good 100,000.