Lufthansa's nine-month profit falls by 13%

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German airline group Lufthansa posted operating profits of €628 million ($812 million) for the first nine months of the year, a little under €100 million down on the same stage last year.

Lufthansa revenue grew 6.1% to €22.8 billion and by 5.4% in traffic revenues of €18.8 billion over the first nine months. Group operating income was up 4.7% to €24.4 billion.

Operating costs over the same period rose 5.6% to €23.7 billion, largely driven by a near €1 billion jump in fuel costs.

Operating profits for the first nine months, though aided by a strong performance from its service units, fell €96 million to €628 million.

Net profits improved by €186 million to €474 million, in part due to one-off costs last year. Lufthansa says it still expects a full-year operating profits in the mid three-digit million euro range.

"Despite strong headwinds, the Lufthansa Group has generated a respectable result, especially in comparison with the rest of the industry," says chief executive Christoph Franz. Citing the impact of the first projects from its 'SCORE' cost-cutting programme, he says there is progress in its controllable costs but says this is not enough to earn adequate margins

"The environment in which we have to operate is getting more and more demanding. And we don't yet have the level of profitability we need to be able to make the required investments. So we will have to intensify our efforts. This applies in particular to the airlines which are directly exposed to these external factors, but also to our service companies," says Franz.