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Business

Lufthansa to fly into profitable zone with European business

Germany's flagship carrier Lufthansa has said it's making big strides in its restructuring efforts and endeavors to save costs. It expected its European flights business to become profitable again this year.

Lufthansa executives said Germany's airline was on track to meet ambitious savings targets as defined under its "Score" program, which foresaw raising the company's operating profit to 2.3 billion euros ($3.13 billion) by 2015.

Executives said during an investors' conference in London on Friday that Lufthansa's low-budget subsidiary Germanwings had been making a huge contribution to achieve those targets.

Since July 1 of this year, Lufthansa's domestic and European flights have been taken over by Germanwings, with the exception of flights using the Frankfurt and Munich hubs. Management said the move was expected to improve 2013 profits in this segment by 90 million euros after five straight years of incurring losses.

Rising to the challenge

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Lufthansa banks on Germanwings

Germanwings chief Thomas Winkelmann said the low-budget carrier's passenger jets would most likely log a 2.9-percent increase in utilization throughout 2013, with average earnings per passenger expected to surge by 4.5 percent.

Lufthansa Passage chief Carsten Spohr pointed to the advantage of reducing the number of jet types in the airline's fleet to 8, down from 15 originally. But he added that more than half a billion euros would have to be invested by 2015 in redesigning the business class for long-haul flights.

Lufthansa's "Score" restructuring program was conceived in response to more competition from low-budget airlines such as Ireland's Ryanair and the emergence of new carriers, including Emirates.

hg/tj (dpa, Reuters)

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