Lufthansa says fuel costs offset post-COVID travel boom in first quarter

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FRANKFURT, May 5 (Reuters)German airline Lufthansa LHAG.DE reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss on Thursday as higher fuel costs offset revenue gains from surging travel demand after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.

The airline’s adjusted loss before interest and tax (EBIT) narrowed to 591 million euros ($627.46 million) in the first quarter compared to 1.05-billion-euro loss it reported for the same period of 2021.

Analysts on average expected the loss to narrow to 558 million euros according to a consensus provided by the company.

Meanwhile, sales more than doubled to 5.36 billion euros – above the average analyst forecast of 5.12 billion euros – as passenger numbers surged both in business and leisure travel.

“New bookings are increasing week on week,” chief executive Carsten Spohr said in a statement, adding that demand for cargo capacity remained high despite global supply chain disruptions.

“This makes our strategic decision to further strengthen Lufthansa Cargo even more valuable,” Spohr said.

The company also confirmed its improvement forecasts in his EBIT adjusted in 2022 compared to 2021.

“The current level of bookings gives us confidence that our financial results will continue to improve over the coming quarters. We need to pass on the rising costs to customers,” the chief said. Financial agent Remco Steenbergen said.

($1 = 0.9419 euros)

(Reporting by Zuzanna Szymanska, editing by Kirsti Knolle and Rachel More)

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