German flag carrier Lufthansa posted a bigger-than-forecast third-quarter loss on Thursday after a hefty 80-per-cent drop in passenger traffic as the coronavirus crisis forced the airline to slash capacity in the run-up to year’s end.
Lufthansa said it ran up a net loss of 1.967 billion euros (2.319 billion dollars) in the three months ended September after the crisis forced the company to decommission passenger jets, cancel flights and hedge against fuel prices.
Analysts had expected the carrier to report a 1.620-billion-euro third-quarter net loss after posting a 1.154-billion-euro profit in the same period last year.
Lufthansa announced last month that it had chalked up an adjusted earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) loss of 1.26 billion euros for the third quarter of 2020 when releasing key data for the September quarter.
Underpinned by government financial support, Lufthansa’s third-quarter revenue also fell more than forecast to 2.660 billion euros, while passenger traffic fell by 80 per cent to 8.7 million.
The airline’s continuing weak ticket demand has resulted in the group planning to cut capacity to at the most a quarter of last year’s level with the carrier paying out 2 billion euros in compensation for cancelled flights.
Lufthansa said it expects its operating cash inflow to turn positive again next year but only if it can increase its flight capacity to around 50 per cent of its pre-crisis level.