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Lufthansa Says Business Has Stabilized

The chairman of Germany's national carrier said that business had stabilized, albeit at a low level, and he noted signs of a slight recovery on the German and other European markets.


Standing its ground but an upturn not yet in sight.

German national carrier Deutsche Lufthansa AG said Monday that it believes the downturn in its passenger numbers has come to an end. Chairman Jürgen Weber, speaking at a groundbreaking ceremony for Munich airport's second terminal, said that he expected the airline's business to stabilize, albeit at a low level.

An upturn was not yet in sight, he added. Weber declined to comment on Lufthansa's ongoing talks with trade unions on rationalization measures. The airline recently said that it could only avoid redundancies if public-service sector Verdi and pilots' union Cockpit agreed to support its savings program.

All airlines are suffering from difficult market conditions following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the U.S. In October, Lufthansa's passenger numbers slumped 13.3% to 3.76 million. For the period January to October, total passenger numbers were down 0.5% from the year-ago period.

"From our perspective, the downturn now looks to have gone as far as it will go," Weber said. He said in particular in Germany and in Europe there were signs of a stabilization, while the U.S. market remained difficult.