Lufthansa Group reported an operating profit of 393 million euros and adjusted free cash flow of 2.1 billion euros in the second quarter of 2022.
Carsten Spohr, CEO of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, said:
“The Lufthansa Group is back in the black. This isa strong result after a half-year that was challenging for our guests but also for our employees. Worldwide, the airline industry reached its operational limits. Nevertheless, we are optimistic about the future. Together, we have steered our company through the pandemic and thus through the most severe financial crisis in our history. Now we must continue to stabilize our flight operations. To this end, we have taken numerous measures and successfully implemented them. In addition, we are doing everything in our power to expand the premium positioning of our airlines again and thus to fully meet the demands of our customers and also our own standards. We want to and will continue to strengthen our position as the number 1 in Europe and thus maintain our place in the global top league of our industry. In addition to the achieved return to profitability, top products for our customers and prospects for our employees are now once again our top priority.”
The Group generated an operating profit of 393 million euros in the second quarter. In the prior-year period, Adjusted EBIT was still clearly negative at -827 million euros. The Adjusted EBIT margin rose accordingly to 4.6 percent (prior year: -25.8 percent). Net income increased significantly to 259 million euros (prior year: -756 million euros).
The company turned over 8.5 billion euros in the second quarter, almost three times as much as in the same period last year (previous year: 3.2 billion euros).
For the first half-year of 2022, the Group recorded an Adjusted EBIT of -198 million euros (prior year: -1.9 billion euros). The Adjusted EBIT margin amounted to -1.4 percent in the first half of the year (prior year: -32.5 percent). Sales increased significantly compared with the first six months of 2021 to 13.8 billion euros (prior year: 5.8 billion euros).
Increase in yields and high load factors for passenger airlines
The number of passengers on board the Passenger Airlines more than quadrupled in the first half-year compared with the same period last year. All in all, the airlines in the Lufthansa Group welcomed 42 million travelers on board between January and June (previous year: 10 million). In the second quarter alone, 29 million passengers flew with the Group’s airlines (previous year: 7 million).
The company continuously expanded the capacity offered in line with the steady rise in demand over the course of the first half of the year. In the first half of 2022, the offered capacity averaged 66 percent of the pre-crisis level. Looking at the second quarter in isolation, offered capacity amounted to around 74 percent of the pre-crisis level.
The positive development of yields and seat load factors in the second quarter should be highlighted. Yields improved significantly in the quarter by an average of 24 percent compared to the previous year. They also increased by 10 percent compared to the pre-crisis year 2019.
Despite the higher price level, the Lufthansa Group’s flights had an average load factor of 80 percent in the second quarter. This figure is almost as high as before the Corona pandemic (2019: 83 percent). In premium classes, the load factor of 80 percent in the second quarter even exceeded the figure for 2019 (2019: 76 percent), driven by continued high premium demand among private travelers and rising booking numbers among business travelers.
Thanks to ongoing and consistent cost management and the expansion of flight capacity, unit costs at the passenger airlines fell by 33 percent in the second quarter compared with the same period last year. They remain 8.5 percent above the pre-crisis level, due to the still significantly reduced offer.
Adjusted EBIT at the passenger airlines improved significantly in the second quarter to -86 million euros (previous year: -1.2 billion euros). Between April and June, the result was burdened by 158 million euros of irregularity cost in relation to disruptions in the flight operations. In the first half of the year, the Adjusted EBIT in the Passenger Airlines segment amounted to -1.2 billion euros (previous year: -2.6 billion euros).
The positive result at SWISS deserves special mention. Switzerland’s largest airline generated an operating profit of 45 million euros in the first half-year (previous year: -383 million euros). In the second quarter, its Adjusted EBIT was 107 million euros (previous year: -172 million euros). SWISS benefited above all from strong booking demand combined with profitability gains as a result of the successful restructuring.
Lufthansa Cargo still at record level, Lufthansa Technik and LSG with positive result
Results in the logistics business segment remain at record levels. The demand for freight capacities is still high, also due to ongoing disruptions in ocean freight.
As a result, average yields in the airfreight industry remain well above the pre-crisis level. Lufthansa Cargo benefited from this also in the second quarter. The Adjusted EBIT rose by 48 percent compared to the same period last year, to 482 million euros (previous year: 326 million euros). In the first half-year the company achieved a new record Adjusted EBIT of 977 million euros (previous year: 641 million euros).
In the second quarter of 2022 Lufthansa Technik benefited from the further recovery in global air traffic and the resulting increase in demand for maintenance and repair services from airlines.
Lufthansa Technik generated an Adjusted EBIT of 100 million euros in the second quarter (previous year: 90 million euros). For the first half-year, the company generated an Adjusted EBIT of 220 million euros (previous year: 135 million euros).
LSG group benefited in particular from revenue growth in North and Latin America during the reporting period. Despite the discontinuation of grants under the US Cares Act, the LSG group generated a positive Adjusted EBIT of 1 million euros (same period last year: 27 million euros). For the first half-year, Adjusted EBIT fell to -13 million euros (same period last year: 19 million euros).
Strong Adjusted free cash flow, liquidity further increased
Over the course of the first half of the year, the number of bookings increased significantly. Due to this high level of new bookings and structural improvements in working capital management, a significantly positive Adjusted free cash flow of 2.1 billion euros was generated in the second quarter (previous year: 382 million euros). In the first half of the year, the Adjusted free cash flow amounted to 2.9 billion euros (prior year: -571 million euros).
Net debt decreased accordingly to 6.4 billion euros as of June 30, 2022 (December 31, 2021: 9.0 billion euros).
At the end of June 2022, the company’s available liquidity amounted to 11.4 billion euros (December 31, 2021: 9.4 billion euros). Liquidity thereby remains well above the target corridor of 6 to 8 billion euros.
Due to the sharp increase in the discount rate, the Lufthansa Group’s net pension liability has fallen by around 60 percent since the end of last year and now stands at around 2.8 billion euros (31 December 2021: 6.5 billion euros). This directly increased balance sheet equity, which amounted to 7.9 billion euros at the end of the first half-year (31 December 2021: 4.5 billion). The equity ratio rose accordingly to around 17 percent (December 31, 2021: 10.6 percent).
Remco Steenbergen, Chief Financial Officer of Deutsche Lufthansa AG:
“Returning to profitability in a quarter that was marked also by high geopolitical uncertainty and rising oil prices is a major achievement. This demonstrates that we are making good progress in recovering from the financial consequences of the Corona crisis. Even after the repayment of state aid last year, our goal remains to further strengthen the balance sheet on a sustainable basis. With a free cash flow of almost 3 billion euros, we were very successful in this regard in the first half of the year. Also in the full year 2022, thanks to the expected return to positive results, strict working capital management and disciplined investment activities, we forecast a clearly positive Adjusted free cash flow and thus a reduction in our net debt compared to the prior year.”
Lufthansa Group recruits more staff
Against the backdrop of the rapid increase in air traffic worldwide, Lufthansa Group is once again recruiting staff. In the second half year of 2022, the com-pany will be hiring around 5,000 new employees, in line with the Group’s ramp-up plan while still ensuring sustainable productivity gains.
The vast majority of new hires relates to adjusting staff levels in operations to the expansion of the flight schedule. Key areas in this regard are the cockpit and cabin of Eurowings and Eurowings Discover, ground personnel at airports, workers at Lufthansa Technik and catering staff at LSG. A similar number of new hires is planned in 2023.
SBTi validates climate targets of the Lufthansa Group
The Lufthansa Group has set itself ambitious climate protection goals and aims to achieve a neutral CO₂ balance by 2050. Already by 2030, the aviation group wants to halve its net CO₂ emissions compared to 2019. To this end, the Lufthansa Group is pursuing a clearly defined reduction path. This has now been successfully validated by the so-called “Science Based Target Initiative” (SBTi). This makes the Lufthansa Group the first aviation group in Europe with a scientifically based CO₂ reduction target in line with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015.
Since August 2, the Lufthansa Group has been testing so-called Green Fares in Scandinavia. For flights from Norway, Sweden and Denmark, customers can now buy flight tickets on the airlines’ booking pages that already include full CO₂ compensation through sustainable aviation fuels and certified climate protection projects. This makes CO₂-neutral flying even easier. The Lufthansa Group is the world’s first international airline company with an offer of this kind.
The Lufthansa Group expects demand for tickets to remain high for the remaining months of the year – people’s wish to travel continues unabated. Bookings for the months August to December 2022 are currently at an average of 83 percent of the pre-crisis level.
Despite the need for some flight cancellations to stabilize operations, the company will continue to expand capacity in line with demand and plans to offer around 80 percent of its pre-crisis capacity in the third quarter of 2022. This is expected to result in a further significant increase in Adjusted EBIT in the third quarter compared to the second quarter, primarily due to a continued improvement in the results of the Lufthansa Group Passenger Airlines.
For the full year 2022, the Lufthansa Group expects the offered capacity at the passenger airlines to amount to around 75 percent on average. Despite continuing uncertainty regarding global economic and geopolitical developments and the further progress of the Corona pandemic, the Group specifies its outlook and now expects Adjusted EBIT to be above 500 million euros for the full year of 2022. This forecast is in line with current market expectations. The Lufthansa Group also expects a clearly positive Adjusted free cash flow for the full year. Net capital expenditure is expected to amount to around EUR 2.5bn.