Lufthansa Group has published its latest results, showing operating losses being cut by more than two thirds last year.

The group made an operating loss of €2.3 billion last year, compared to €5.5 billion in 2020. A total of 47 million passengers travelled with Lufthansa Group airlines in 2021, up by 29 per cent on the previous year.

Looking ahead, Lufthansa said that group-wide capacity for summer 2022 is expected to reach 85 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, rising to 95 per cent for short and medium-haul routes, with full-year capacity for 2022 expected to be around 70 per cent of 2019 levels.

The group said that bookings for Easter and summer holiday periods has almost reached 2019 levels, with demand “particularly strong for destinations in the USA and the Mediterranean”. In December Lufthansa announced plans to link Continental Europe with St Louis for first time in two decades, with a new route from Frankfurt airport.

Lufthansa to link Continental Europe with St Louis for first time in two decades

However it warned that “Major uncertainties regarding the dramatic developments in Ukraine and the economic and geopolitical consequences of the conflict”, as well as remaining uncertainties regarding the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, meant that it was unable to present a detailed financial outlook at present.

Commenting on the news Carsten Spohr, CEO of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, said:

“2021, was a challenging year for the Lufthansa Group and its employees. And 2022 also begins with developments that worry us as citizens of this continent. Our Airlines connect people, cultures and economies. We stand for international understanding and peace in Europe and around the world. Our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine and with our colleagues on the ground, to whom we are providing every possible support.

“The Lufthansa Group used the past financial year to further renew itself. We have decisively and consistently advanced and implemented the transformation and restructuring of the company. Today, the Lufthansa Group is more efficient and more sustainable than before the pandemic.

“Even in the financially most difficult two years in our history, in which painful cuts were unavoidable, we acted in a socially responsible manner and sustainably secured 105,000 jobs in the Lufthansa Group.

“We are very certain that air traffic will experience a strong upswing this year. Our strategy of expanding the private travel segment has proved successful and is paying off. People want to travel. They seek and need personal contact – especially after two years of pandemic and the associated social restrictions. The pent up demand for leisure and business travel was already significantly noticeable in 2021 – and this trend is set to intensify in 2022.

“The Coronavirus crisis has taken its toll on all of us. The pandemic presented our customers, shareholders and our employees with extreme challenges. We are now leaving the crisis behind us, mentally and – in view of the strong booking figures this year – also commercially and face the next challenge strengthened.”

Meanwhile reports Spohr as stating that the group is “monitoring closely” renewed consolidation trends in the aviation sector, following reports in January that Lufthansa was looking to take a major stake in newly-formed Italian carrier ITA Airways.

The report quotes Spohr as stating:

“Italy is the most important international market for us in Europe… and second [worldwide] only to the USA. So Italy is of strategic importance and with our experience with Air Dolomiti, we believe that the Lufthansa Group is the ideal partner for ITA, with everything that we already have in Europe and joint ventures around the world.

“We will soon have a look at the data in the data room to see what ITA actually offers and we will then decide which options are attractive for us; commercial alliances or investment activities for a minority share. But that is something we can only tell you once we have got to the data room and seen what ITA currently has to offer.”