Lufthansa Group is taking encouragement from strong summer demand after confirming the financial hit from strike disruption, increased costs, and lower than expected capacity expansion.

The Star Alliance airline group had earlier this month cut its full-year outlook after revealing first-quarter losses more than trebled. 

In publishing its full first quarter results today, Lufthansa Group confirmed a first-quarter adjusted EBIT loss of €849 million ($910 million), reflecting an impact of more than €350 million from industrial action.

Lufthansa Group corporate

Source: Lufthansa

Most of the strike action, both within the company and in the wider transport sector, was centred in Germany and its Lufthansa Airlines business was most impacted. Adjusted EBIT losses deepened to €640 million at Lufthansa’s German passenger business in the quarter, up from €366 million a year ago. 

The German carrier has since struck agreements with both ground and cabin crew unions, but will now focus on cost-saving efforts in a bid to counter higher personnel expenses.

”In the coming months, we will work intensively to compensate for the effects of rising costs. We have taken additional measures to this end, particularly at Lufthansa Airlines, which is significantly affected by rising personnel expenses and fees,” says Lufthansa Group chief financial officer Remco Steenbergen.

”I therefore remain convinced that we will be able to achieve stable unit cost development for the year as a whole without taking the strikes in the first quarter into account.”

While Lufthansa felt much of the pain, operating results across all the group’s passenger units fell in the quarter. As was the case in the first quarter of 2023, Swiss International Air Lines was its only passenger carrier to post a profit in the lower-season period. However, even the Swiss carrier’s operating profit was halved to €33 million.

Lufthansa Group Q1 operating result by airline
AirlineQ1 2024Q1 2023
 Source: Lufthansa, operating result is adjusted EBIT
Lufthansa (€640m) (€366m)
Swiss International Air Lines €33m €77m
Eurowings (€137m) (€103m)
Austrian Airlines (€122m) (€73m)
Brussels Airlines (€58m) (€44m)
Lufthansa passenger businesses (€918m) (€512m)
Lufthansa Group total (€849m) (€73m)

Lufthansa Group chief executive Carsten Spohr says: “We are now leaving the first quarter behind us, which was mainly impacted by strikes, and are at a turning point. We have reached long-term wage agreements for the majority of our employees. This means planning certainty and clarity for the coming years.

”We are still seeing strong demand, which is even significantly higher than last year for the summer,” he says. The group says summer bookings are 16% ahead of 2023. ”One thing is already clear: it will be another very strong summer,” Spohr says.

Alongside strike impact, Lufthansa Group has also flagged it will not be able to increase capacity as quickly hoped this year amid continued aircraft delivery delays and efforts to build in an operational buffer. It now expects to increase full-year capacity to around 92% of 2019 levels, less than the 94% it had originally aimed to reach.

The group also confirmed its downward revised full-year guidance of an adjusted EBIT of around €2.2 billion, lower than the €2.7 billion it had originally hoped for.