Lufthansa Group almost doubled its revenue to €32.8 billion in the 2022 financial year after a “strong increase in demand”, and plans to increase capacities in 2023 to near-2019 levels.
The airline giant, which also owns Austrian Airlines, Swiss, Brussels Airlines and Eurowings, had previously raised its earnings forecast and on Friday (3 March) confirmed adjusted earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of €1.5 billion for 2022.
The group’s adjusted EBIT margin improved by 4.6 per cent (compared to -9.9 per cent in 2021) and net income came in at €791 million (compared to a loss of €2.2 billion the previous year).
Group CEO Carsten Spohr proclaimed: “Lufthansa is back”.
“In just one year, we have achieved an unprecedented financial turnaround. With an operating profit of €1.5 billion, the Lufthansa Group has achieved a much better result than expected,” he added.
The group said the “clearly positive result” came despite high inflation, fuel costs and a summer marred by global staffing shortages, as the number of flights “significantly expanded” over the course of the year to meet “strong demand”.
The group’s airlines welcomed a total 102 million passengers in 2022 – more than double the number of passengers served in 2021 – with capacity at 72 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. Seat load factor for the year was 79.8 per cent, 18.2 percentage points higher than the previous year (61.6 per cent).
Due to a “significant increase in passenger traffic” and higher yields, the group’s passenger airline revenues increased by 148 per cent year-on-year to €22.8 billion.
Swiss and Austrian Airlines also generated a full-year operating profit of €476 million and €3 million, respectively.
The group’s airfreight business, Lufthansa Cargo, also reported record earnings of €1.6 billion, with yields 136 per cent above pre-crisis levels.
The outlook for 2023 remains positive, with Sphohr stating “demand for air travel remains high”.
The group expects to increase capacity throughout 2023 to around 85 to 90 per cent of 2019 levels and anticipates an adjusted EBIT margin of “at least” 8 per cent, with earnings expected to be “particularly strong” in the second and third quarters.
The group is also sharpening focus on its sustainability goals.
After recently expanding its ‘green fares’ across European services, the group on Thursday (2 March) announced the purchase of 22 new fuel-efficient aircraft to add to its fleet.
From the mid-2020s, the group will take delivery of 10 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft (a new addition to the fleet), five Airbus A350-900 aircraft and seven Boeing 787-9 ‘Dreamliner’ aircraft, purchased for a total price of US$7.5 billion (approx. €7.1 billon).
Lufthansa Group, which is now entirely back in private ownership, is also currently engaged in “exclusive talks” with Italian government over the purchase of Italian flag carrier ITA Airways and recently inked a deal with state-owned rail company Trenitalia to improve multimodal links in the country.
“For our guests and our employees, we want to continue to grow, shape the future and expand our market position,” Sphohr said.