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Business

Low fuel costs boost Lufthansa profits

Germany's flag carrier Lufthansa posted a 55-percent jump in profits for 2015, benefiting from low oil prices. The result comes despite protracted industrial action by pilots and flight attendants throughout last year.

Adjusted EBIT jumped by 55 percent to 1.8 billion euros ($2 billion) for the full year. Net profit came in at 1.7 billion euros, 30 times higher than in 2014.

Despite

protracted strike action

throughout 2015 by various unions, including the pilots' union Cockpit, profits at Lufthansa's passenger business doubled, buoyed by low global oil prices, which had significantly reduced fuel costs.

Passenger numbers rose to their highest-ever level at Europe's biggest airline group. Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian Airlines, Germanwings and Eurowings logged 107.7 million travelers, a rise of 1.6 percent compared with the year before.

The protracted industrial action and the tragic

crash of a Germanwings aircraft

in the French Alps last March, which killed all 150 people on board, meant that 2015 was "a very difficult year emotionally," according to CEO Carsten Spohr.

But he stressed that "business-wise, 2015 was a very good year" and promised investors a dividend of 50 cents per share. Lufthansa did not pay a dividend in 2015, due to heavy losses.

Spohr forecast a further rise in operating profit for 2016, with passenger airlines "expected to be prime drivers of such earnings growth."

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ng/hg (Reuters, AFP)

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