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Lufthansa profits soar in second quarter


Frankfurt am Main (AFP)

German airline group Lufthansa reported zooming profits in the second quarter Wednesday, as increased passenger demand and lower fuel costs lent tailwinds to its business.

Net profit between April and June stood at 740 million euros ($875 million), up 69.3 percent from its level in 2016's second quarter.

Operating, or underlying profit reached 1.0 billion euros, on the back of 9.3 billion euros in revenue.

The group, a European giant which owns airlines like Austrian, Swiss and low-cost Germanwings alongside its namesake brand, said cost-cutting in its passenger business had led to "sustainably higher earnings" over the first half of the year.

Meanwhile, Lufthansa's cargo unit returned to profitability in the first half as it pushes through its own efficiency drive, while its maintenance and catering divisions continued their growth.

In a statement, the executive board promised "continuous structural improvements" to keep Lufthansa competitive in a world of challenges from low-cost rivals like Ryanair.

The Irish carrier tweaked Lufthansa's nose earlier this year by offering flights from its home base in Frankfurt, western Germany, with plans to expand the schedule in the autumn.

Looking ahead to the full year, Lufthansa confirmed its forecast -- increased in mid-July -- of operating profits adjusted for special items higher than the 1.75 billion euros reported in 2016.

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