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Lufthansa tense despite better first quarter loss

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German giant faces competition from easyJet, Ryanair, Vueling

Lufthansa has reported a narrower loss in the first quarter amid what it called a difficult market. In what is traditionally a loss-making quarter for airlines, Lufthansa posted an adjusted operating loss of €190 million.

As the company tries to reclaim losses from a damaging three-day pilot strike last month, it is fighting low-cost competition as easyJet, Ryanair and Vueling increase services to bigger airports. Meanwhile, demand for air travel slowed in March, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

But Lufthansa is keeping its target for 2014 adjusted operating profit at between €1.7 billion and €1.9 billion – even though strikes have cost it more than €70 million in lost profits.

“Compensating for the strike impact is now top of our agenda, especially as we have not managed to close the gap in forward booking that has appeared during the strike by the pilots’ union,” Chief Financial Officer Simone Menne says.

Almost 4,000 flights were cancelled because of the strike. Menne said that talks with pilots had been constructive but could not rule out further walk-outs.

Reuters

[pictured: Take-off at Munich Airport; courtesy Lufthansa]

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