Q1 Lufthansa Group Passengers Quadruple

Lufthansa Group saw first-quarter airline passengers more than quadruple compared with the same period in 2021, leading the company to increase capacity toward the end of the quarter, Lufthansa said in a Thursday first-quarter earnings report.

Passenger numbers increased to more than 13 million during the quarter, compared with about 3 million one year prior. Capacity was up 171 percent year over year to a recovery level of 57 percent compared with the “pre-crisis level,” to more than 45.6 million available seat kilometers. Lufthansa reported that its number of first-quarter flights increased 230 percent year over year to more than 135,500.

“The restrictions on air traffic have largely been overcome,” Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr said in a statement. “The past few weeks in particular have clearly shown how great people’s desire to travel is. New bookings are increasing from week to week—among business travelers, but especially for vacation and leisure travel.”

The company projected the airline group’s volume of business travel by year-end to recover to around 70 percent of its pre-crisis level. Overall, destinations in the United States, South America and the Mediterranean are in particularly high demand.

First-quarter revenue more than doubled year over year to €5.4 billion ($5.7 billion), of which €3.8 billion ($4 billion) was passenger revenue, up nearly 150 percent from Q1 2021 levels. Still, the company reported a net loss of €584 million ($614 million), which was about 44 percent of the loss reported one year prior.

The company’s operating expenses rose during the quarter due to higher fuel expenses—which increased 259 percent year over year to €987 million ($1.04 billion)—operating staff costs and other factors. Those increases could lead to higher ticket prices.

“We must pass through rising costs to customers,” Lufthansa CFO Remco Steenbergen said.

Lufthansa expects second-quarter capacity to be around 75 percent of pre-pandemic levels. For the full year, the company anticipates average passenger capacity of around 75 percent of 2019 levels. During the summer season, the company will offer around 95 percent of pre-pandemic capacity on European short-haul routes and around 85 percent on transatlantic routes.

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