Lufthansa tackles record lows with acquisitions

LUFTHANSA Cargo made an operating loss of US$87 million in the second quarter this year, compared to a $95 million profit in 2008. Revenue fell almost 40 per cent from last year’s $1 billion to $626 million. For the whole of the first half of the year this means that the carrier lost $188 million compared with a $160 million profit in the same period in 2008, while revenue dropped 35.5 per cent to $1.3 billion. Traffic dropped 16.9 per cent from 441,000 tonnes to 366,000. Including Swiss WorldCargo, its cargo traffic for the first half of the year has now fallen 19.8 per cent from 983,000 tonnes to 788,000.

Meanwhile, Lufthansa itself had its income slashed for the second quarter by 88 per cent to $56 million from $472 million last year. First half operating profit was a meagre $11.2 million, down from $948 million last year, with revenue down 16 per cent to $14.3 billion.

Lufthansa said: “The economic crisis continues to have a drastic effect on the results of the air freight industry.”

Lufthansa Cargo announced that, by 1 October, it would cut capacity by grounding six of its 19 MD-11 freighters, four of those for at least a year. It will also expand the scope and increase the hours that it cuts ground staff’s working hours to “safeguard earnings.” Estimates suggest that these and other operating costs could be cut by up to 25 per cent.

Lufthansa said that it is pessimistic about the rest of 2009 but remains optimistic that it is well prepared to survive when demand starts to grow again.


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