Lufthansa Group’s adjusted EBIT declines as rising fuel costs bite

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Lufthansa Group has reported in its preliminary figures an adjusted EBIT for the first three months of 2019 of -€336 million on a preliminary basis – compared to €52 million the previous year.

The German airline group also said total revenues for the period were €7.9 billion – a three per cent increase on the prior-year period.

Among other factors, Lufthansa said first quarter (Q1) adjusted EBIT was reduced by a €202 million rise in fuel costs. Market-wide overcapacities in Europe also put downward pressure on fares.

The negative trend it said was accentuated by the fact Q1 results for 2018 had been particularly strong, owing to the capacity reductions deriving from Air Berlin’s demise.

On this basis, the Lufthansa Group’s network airlines (Lufthansa, Swiss and Austrian Airlines) suffered a 5.2 per cent currency-adjusted decline in their unit revenues for the period. The unit revenue decline at Eurowings, with its higher proportion of short and medium-haul routes, amounted to 8.5 per cent.

On a preliminary basis, the network airlines achieved an adjusted EBIT of -€160 million (prior year: €128 million) for Q1 of 2019, while Eurowings saw its adjusted EBIT for the period decline to –€257 million (prior year: -€212 million).

For 2019 as a whole, the Lufthansa Group expects an adjusted EBIT margin of between 6.5 and eight per cent.

“We are seeing good booking levels for the quarter ahead,” said Lufthansa Group chief financial officer, Ulrik Svensson. “At the same time, we have substantially reduced our own capacity growth.

“And with a reduction in growth also projected for the European market as a whole, we expect unit revenues to increase again in the second quarter. This should be further buoyed by the still-strong demand on our long-haul routes, especially to Asia and North America.”