LUFTHANSA PRODUCED its promised return to profits in style, with a set of results ahead of expectations. The now-privatised German carrier underlined its financial transformation by revealing that it has halved debts and almost doubled cash flow over the past year.

Full group figures will not be released until May, but preliminary results announced for the main Lufthansa airline operation show pre-tax profits of DM306 million ($220 million) for 1994.

In 1993, the airline made losses of DM53 million, although Lufthansa says that the deficit would have been even greater if it had not transferred funds from its special "reflux" depreciation account. In 1994, the airline transferred DM270 million into the account, so offsetting all its gains on aircraft sales.

Lufthansa says that the 1994 improvement stems largely from operating improvements. Sales were up by 7%, while unit costs were down by 4.4%.

Source: Flight International