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Lufthansa to pay back state aid after profitable summer

October 27, 2022

The airline is running its operations close to pre-pandemic capacity and has announced it will pay back the bailouts its foreign subsidiaries received from Belgium and Austria.

A fleet of Lufthansa planes
Lufthansa has left the pandemic behind and is looking ahead optimistically, CEO Carsten Spohr said Image: Patrick Pleul/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa/picture alliance

German airline giant Lufthansa said Thursday it had "left the pandemic behind" as it reported a profitable summer in all business segments with strong demand for travel in the months ahead. 

"The desire to travel and thus the demand for air tickets remains unabated," Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr said on Thursday. 

"The Lufthansa Group has put the pandemic behind itself economically and is looking ahead optimistically." 

Lufthansa is set to repay the bailouts it received for its foreign subsidiaries due to the COVID-19 pandemic by the end of the year: Austria will receive €210 million that had benefited Austrian Airlines, while Brussels Airlines will return €290 million to the Belgian treasury.

What do Lufthansa's profits look like?

Compared to last year, third-quarter revenues almost doubled to €10.1 billion ($10.15 billion). 

Over 33 million passengers flew with the airlines of the group in the third quarter, up from 20 million in the same period a year earlier.

The passenger airlines returned to profitability with an adjusted operating profit of €709 million compared to last year, when they had made a loss

Lufthansa earned €809 million in the third quarter after a loss of €72 million a year ago. Average yields were as much as 23% higher than in 2019, with business travellers and holidaymakers treating themselves to more expensive tickets more often than before. 

Lufthansa had already announced key figures for the seasonally important summer quarter in mid-October: The operating profit quadrupled from July to September to €1.1 billion and therefore nearly returned to the highs of pre-pandemic times.  

Some losses werde made due to staff shortage and repeated strikes, Lufthansa reported. 

In the fourth quarter, the passenger airlines planned to operate at around 80% of the 2019 capacity. 

For the full year, the figure is expected to be just under 75% . Despite the usual seasonal slowdown in the last three months of the year, the group expects an operating profit, partially due to increased ticket prices.

Strikes at the Lufthansa group

Pilots at the Eurowings subsidiary conducted a three-day strike in mid-October, the latest industrial action over pay at Lufthansa this year.

A previous Eurowings strike earlier in the month forced the cancelation of roughly half of the airlines' 500 daily domestic and European flights, stranding some 30,000 passengers.

In September, Lufthansa had to cancel 800 flights when pilots from the main carrier went on strike, affecting schedules in the major hubs of Frankfurt and Munich in particular.

A threatened walkout by ground staff had forced the company to cancel more than 1,000 flights in August.

los/rt (AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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