Germany's Lufthansa has reported a strong rise in bottom-line earnings for the third quarter. But competition for Europe's largest carrier is mounting, with low-budget airline Ryanair expanding in Germany.
Germany's flagship carrier Lufthansa on Wednesday reported a 79-percent rise in net profit for the third quarter year on year to 1.4 billion euros ($1.55 billion).
The airline said it profited from cost-cutting measures and a settlement with some employee groups on pension plans, enabling it to wash provisions of over 700 million euros back into its coffers.
Adjusted earnings, that is profit before interest and taxes, dropped by 6.5 percent to 1.15 billion euros. Lufthansa also reported a decline in third-quarter sales to 8.8 billion euros, marking a 1-percent drop in revenues.
"The Lufthansa Group is developing with stability in a difficult market environment," CEO Carsten Spohr said in a statement. "We're responding to the pricing pressures in the air transport sector with consistent capacity and cost discipline."
Pressure on Europe's largest carrier is mounting as Ireland's Ryanair, the biggest low-budget airline on the Continent, is sticking to its plans to speed up its expansion program in Germany, Lufthansa's home turf, and steal away customers.
Fourth-quarter results may be dented by strikes at Lufthansa subsidiaries Eurowings and Germanwings last week which grounded about 400 flights as a result of an unresolved contract dispute with employees.
hg/jd (dpa, Reuters)