Between April and June, Lufthansa recorded a net profit of €259 million ($263 million), over one billion euros more than the same period last year and its first positive quarter since the end of 2019.
Lufthansa was “back in the black”, CEO Carsten Spohr said in a statement, describing the pandemic as “the most severe financial crisis in our history”.
The group – which includes Eurowings, Austrian, Swiss and Brussels Airlines – made huge net losses of €6.7 billion in 2020 and €2.2 billion in 2021 as the pandemic shut down large parts of the airline industry.
Lufthansa was saved from bankruptcy by a government bailout in June 2020.
The improved figures were lifted by a “record” result for Lufthansa Cargo, which has benefitted from high demand and “ongoing disruptions in ocean freight”.
The freight division booked an operating – or underlying – profit of €482 million in the second quarter, a 48-percent improvement on last year.
A “boom” in demand for travel saw the result for Lufthansa’s passenger airlines “improved significantly” though they remained in the red, with the exception of Swiss.
Amid recent chaos at airports, Lufthansa said it would start recruiting again, bringing 5,000 new employees on board.
It comes after the airline slashed over 30,000 jobs since the start of the pandemic, out of 140,000 positions globally.
A shortage of workers has left airports and airlines struggling to process high numbers of passengers, after they cut back their operations during the pandemic.
Lufthansa is also caught in disputes over pay and conditions. Ground staff carried out a strike on July 27th, while there are also threats of strikes from the Vereinigung Cockpit union, which represents German pilots.
During the ground crew strike, Verdi union said staff needed more money because they were essentially burnt out after “two years of the pandemic and massive job cuts”, as well rising inflation.
Despite the disruption and the clouded outlook for the economy, Lufthansa said it “expects demand for tickets to remain high for the remaining months of the year”.
For the whole of 2022 Lufthansa planned to offer 75 percent of its pre-crisis capacity on passenger airlines.
The group also put a number on an expected operating profit for the year, saying it anticipated a result “above 500 million euros”.