Lufthansa narrows loss on cost cuts, booking recovery

4 minute read
Register now for FREE unlimited access to
  • Q2 adj operating loss 952 mln euros; forecast 971 mln
  • Q2 saw a 340 mln euro cash inflow
  • Keeps 2021 capacity target at 40% of 2019 levels

FRANKFURT, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Germany's Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) said on Thursday recovering air travel and progress on cost savings helped the airline further narrow its losses in the second quarter and record cash inflow for the first time since the start of the coronavirus crisis.

The group, which also owns Eurowings, Swiss, Brussels and Austrian Airlines, reported its adjusted operating loss narrowed to 952 million euros ($1.13 billion) from 1.7 billion euros a year earlier, slightly below the 971 million euros forecast in a company-provided poll.

Lufthansa said the easing of travel curbs and pent-up demand drove significant recovery during the quarter and together with cost savings, which included job cuts, helped stem the cash bleed and deliver a 340 million euro cash inflow.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to

"The fact that more than 30,000 colleagues have left us in the process so far hurts us all, but is unavoidable to sustainably save the more than 100,000 remaining jobs," Chief Executive Carsten Spohr said in a statement.

Lufthansa shares were up around 0.3% in mid-morning trade.

Bernstein analysts welcomed the progress in restructuring, but noted uncertainty about the group's capital-raising plans.

"There is still no decision around the size and timing of an equity raise, previously planned to be before the election in September – and still top of investors' minds," they said in a note. read more

Lufthansa planes are seen parked on the tarmac of Frankfurt Airport, Germany June 25, 2020. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

Lufthansa said its airlines carried 7 million passengers in the quarter, 18% of 2019 levels, though the numbers improved through the quarter to reach 40% at the end of June. Revenues rose 70% from last year to 3.2 billion euros, a touch below analysts' forecast.


Rivals, including Air France-KLM (AIRF.PA) and British Airways owner IAG (ICAG.L) also reported a return to positive cash flow read more , but like IAG, Lufthansa was more cautious about its outlook than some competitors.

While it predicted high tourist demand and a gradual recovery in business travel in the second half, the group kept its full-year capacity target at 40% of pre-crisis levels and forecast it reaching 50% in the third quarter.

EasyJet (EZJ.L) and Ryanair (RYA.I), low-cost airlines with no transatlantic routes hit by U.S. curbs on inbound travel, forecast reaching two-thirds of capacity, and Air France-KLM saw it at 60% to 70%.

Lufthansa, which in June laid out plans to return to profitability with fewer planes and staff than it had before the pandemic, said it had already reached half of the 3.5 billion euros in cost cuts targeted by 2024. That was six months ahead of plan, helped by better than expected uptake of voluntary redundancy programmes in Germany and Switzerland. read more

The group said its freight business made a record profit, while its service arm returned to the black during the quarter.

($1 = 0.8450 euros)

Register now for FREE unlimited access to
Reporting by Ilona Wissenbach and Tomasz Janowski Editing by Maria Sheahan and Mark Potter

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.