Lufthansa Group is attributing its fall in nine-month operating profit to negative influences on its passenger transport and catering businesses, but cites better results from its cargo, maintenance and information technology activities.

The nine-month operating result of €984 million ($1.26 billion) was €101 million below last year's figure.

Traffic revenues were up nearly 18% to €15 billion, with overall operating income for the group reaching €19.8 billion.

Operating expenses increased to €18.9 billion, largely the result of the fuel-price rise which took Lufthansa's fuel costs to €4.1 billion - an increase of nearly 50%.

Maintenance division Lufthansa Technik has achieved an operating result of €227 million, a year-on-year rise, while logistics arm Lufthansa Cargo's figure improved to €160 million.

Information technology business Lufthansa Systems' operating result rose "significantly" but the catering activity suffered from negative exchange rates, material cost increases, and other effects.

While Lufthansa Group's net result of €551 million is far below last year's level of €1.6 billion, the figures in 2007 were aided by special book gains including a €503 million profit from the sale of Thomas Cook shares.

Lufthansa's capital expenditure of €1.7 billion included €1.1 billion spent on fleet modernisation and €214 million spent on the acquisition of a minority share in US low-fare carrier JetBlue Airways.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news