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Lufthansa gives upbeat outlook as fare surge survives disruption

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A Lufthansa aircraft approaches the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, Tuesday, July 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

A Lufthansa aircraft approaches the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, Tuesday, July 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

A Lufthansa aircraft approaches the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, Tuesday, July 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

Deutsche Lufthansa AG forecast profit will keep rising in coming months amid a boom in demand, even as staffing shortages prompt airports to limit capacity.

Europe's biggest airline group said it expects a "significant increase" in earnings in the third quarter compared to the second. That's after high ticket prices and bumper profits at the company's cargo division more than offset increases in fuel costs in the second quarter.

Lufthansa also provided a clearer outlook for full-year profit, predicting adjusted earnings before interest and taxes of more than €500m ($508.2m). The airline previously said only that it expected an improvement in 2022 compared with last year.

While travellers across Europe are grappling with disrupted flights amid the staffing crunch and a wave of strikes, the region's airlines are making money again as travel rebounds from the Covid crisis. Capacity caps introduced to avoid late cancellations may have crimped passenger tallies, but they've also lifted fares in a business where demand was already close to matching supply.

Having reduced its workforce during the pandemic, Lufthansa said it will hire some 10,000 new employees over the next 18 months, a move aimed at smoothing disruptions to travel.

"Together, we have steered our company through the pandemic and thus through the most severe financial crisis in our history," Chief Executive Officer Carsten Spohr said in a statement Thursday. "Now we must continue to stabilize our flight operations."

Lufthansa posted adjusted earnings before interest and taxes of €393m for the second quarter, after saying last month that the figure would total between €350m and €400m.

Rivals Air France-KLM and British Airways parent IAG SA last week posted positive earnings for the first time since global travel was roiled by the pandemic. The former plans to hike capacity close to pre-coronavirus levels in the final three months of 2022, while IAG predicts higher earnings this quarter and a positive full-year result.

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