Status: 04.08.2022 10:55 a.m.
Lufthansa posted a quarterly profit for the first time since the start of the pandemic. But the persistent staff shortage is having a negative impact on business. The group cannot increase the range of tickets as much as planned.
Despite good numbers and still high demand for tickets, Lufthansa is expanding summer flight operations slower than expected. The reason for this is the lack of staff, which currently significantly limits operations at airports and airlines.
From June to September, i.e. in the third quarter, 80% of the capacity of the pre-crisis year 2019 is planned for the group’s passenger airlines, Lufthansa announced today. In the second quarter, it was still 74%. So far, 85% of the pre-Corona crisis level was targeted for the third quarter. The occupancy rate for the whole year should remain at 75%.
Thousands of flights canceled
The main brand Lufthansa alone had to cancel more than 7,000 flights. Other major airlines such as Air France-KLM and IAG have also cut their plans for the summer quarter by five percentage points to 80-85% of all passenger flights.
A warning strike by the Verdi union over a collective bargaining dispute over the wages of around 20,000 Lufthansa ground workers resulted in more than 1,000 casualties. Since June, this has been a problem for many travelers who wish to go abroad again after two years of pandemic and who arrive at their destination with sometimes considerable delays.
Back in the Dark Band
The current travel chaos has not hurt the German airline financially. On the one hand, it paid compensation of 158 million euros to customers. On the other hand, with higher occupancy, average returns, an indicator of ticket prices, increased by 24% compared to the same period last year. They were even ten percent above the pre-crisis level.
In the second quarter, the group returned to profitability for the first time since the pandemic. In the end, the MDAX group gained 259 million euros after a loss of 756 million euros a year earlier. The freight subsidiary Lufthansa Cargo, in particular, saved Lufthansa’s overall result thanks to strong demand in the logistics sector. With the exception of the Swiss subsidiary Swiss, all of Lufthansa’s passenger airlines recorded losses in the second quarter. Air transport continues to benefit from massive disruptions to sea freight.
The group’s turnover amounted to 8.5 billion euros, two and a half times more than in the same period last year. The airline now expects adjusted operating profit of more than half a billion euros for the whole of 2022.
5000 new employees
The first half of the year was difficult for passengers and employees, explained Lufthansa boss Carsten Spohr: “Overall, the airline industry was reaching its operational limits.” Nevertheless, management is optimistic about the future. A few weeks ago, Spohr apologized for saving too much in one place or another. During the Corona crisis, which caused the collapse of air traffic, the airline group reduced the number of employees from around 139,000 worldwide to a good 100,000.
“In addition to the return to profitability obtained, the best products for our customers and the prospects for our employees are again a priority,” explained the boss of Lufthansa. The group is now considering thousands of new hires. In the second half of the year, around 5,000 employees are to be hired – in the cockpit, cabin and on the ground. Next year there will be just as many.
Lufthansa: Half-year figures
Roman Warsaw. ARD Frankfurt am Main, 08/04/2022 08:43