Lufthansa tightens the belt

LUFTHANSA has mimicked Air France-KLM in dimming down its full-year profit forecast following poor August results and a slump in forward bookings.

Operating profit will fall short of last year’s figure of €876 million (US$1.2 billion).

AF-KLM posted a €145 million ($198 million) second-quarter loss while Lufthansa’s earnings of €230 million ($315 million) fell short of a €325 million ($444 million) target. International Airlines Group had an operating profit of €190 million ($260 million) versus a €71 million ($97 million) second quarter loss, outperforming its European rivals.

AF-KLM said it will be focusing less on cargo and more on passenger operations in a bid to boost revenues. Lufthansa, whose cargo unit has bought five 777Fs – two will be delivered in 2013, two in 2014 and one in 2015 – is also cutting capacity growth for the winter season from 29 October to six per cent from 12 per cent by using smaller aircraft, deferring planned routes and closing the Lufthansa Italia unit.

In related news, today Lufthansa Cargo, the humanitarian aid organisation Wings of Help and Payback will start their second humanitarian aid flight to Kenya carrying 50 tonnes of cargo to assist those affected by famine.

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