After struggling through a year that tested major airlines the world over, Lufthansa is flying high again. CEO Jürgen Weber on Wednesday announced an operating profit of 790 million euros ($787 million) for the first nine months of the year, exceeding analysts' expectations.
Management has drastically lowered costs and reduced flight volume in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, which sent profits plummeting. The moves towards greater efficiency have been successful, but the outlook for the fourth quarter is less rosy. "We don't expect the growth that led to our recovery after the events of 2001 to continue into the fourth quarter," Weber said. The company is expecting losses in the quarter and overall revenue of 700 to 750 million euros for the year.
The company is blaming the generally poor state of the economy, lower passenger numbers and a drop in business travel for its forecasted loss in the fourth quarter. Lufthansa has also warned that increased union demands and a hike in federal taxes to the tune of 130 million euros could saddle the flag carrier's bottom line.