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HomeTravelLufthansa flight bookings within Europe rise above pre-pandemic levels

Lufthansa flight bookings within Europe rise above pre-pandemic levels

Germany’s national airline says flight bookings for Easter and summer are “partially above pre-crisis levels” as travel restrictions are eased and passenger confidence returns.

Lufthansa Group, which includes Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Swiss, says summer capacity on short- and medium-haul routes are almost back to 2019 levels.

The firm lost €1.8bn (£1.5bn) in 2021, excluding restructuring expenses – an average of £48 per second during the year. But that was barely one-third of the €5.2bn (£4.4bn) the previous year.

The chief executive, Carsten Spohr, said: “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.

“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.”

But Mr Spohr also spoke of “developments that worry us as citizens of this continent”.

Addressing the Russian invasion of Ukraine, he said: “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.”

In response to the results, Peter McNally of the research firm Third Bridge said: “Having just closed the books on a turbulent 2021 Lufthansa now faces another unpredictable outlook.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has triggered sanctions and additional travel restrictions just as Europe was emerging from the Omicron variant.”

“This is bound to sap the public’s appetite for discretionary air travel. Conflict in Europe will dent consumer confidence and cause travellers to take a more sober look at their finances before booking flights.”

“Lufthansa has managed through the last two years through cost cutting and capital injections, but the full recovery of the industry looks to be delayed once again.”

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