D.he “Lufthansa can look back on an eventful history that has had glorious highlights, but has not gone without interruptions”. This sentence comes from the website of Europe’s largest airline. The Group’s most recent crisis, caused by the corona pandemic, is not just another chapter in this eventful history, because it even led to Lufthansa’s descent from the leading index Dax.
A good year ago, many experts were no longer so sure how long Lufthansa would (survive) live. A year later, the company and its workforce licked their wounds, but at the same time showed a bit of optimism again.
The importance of the industry not only for shareholders but for the entire economy is also shown by the fact that the federal government is holding a major aviation summit on Friday. With a view to Lufthansa, the state’s influence on the company has increased because of the crisis aid and state involvement. But the prospects are now improving. On the occasion of the aviation summit, Lufthansa boss Carsten Spohr even promised that the state participation could be repaid before the federal elections in September. Accordingly, it would be ready in a few months.
Twice as many bookings
On Tuesday evening, the former Dax group announced that the Lufthansa Group’s bookings had increased significantly due to the accelerated progress in vaccination worldwide and the resulting gradual relaxation of travel restrictions. “Compared to the average weekly incoming bookings in March and April 2021, new bookings more than doubled in May and early June,” it says.
In essence, the demand for European holiday destinations around the Mediterranean and the long-haul tourist market with only limited or no travel restrictions are causing the number of bookings to rise. This is one of the reasons why a positive operating cash flow is expected in the second quarter.
Similar to the Tui Group, Lufthansa and its workforce have been granted that things are looking up again and that the planes can take off. Despite having a major state shareholder, Lufthansa should only be able to survive a horror year like 2020 to a limited extent.
In the 2020 financial year, Lufthansa had to post an adjusted operating loss of more than 5.4 billion euros. The crane airline started the new financial year between January and March 2021 with a loss of 1.14 billion euros. For the current year as a whole, management is also expecting a minus, measured in terms of adjusted operating business, but according to the forecast this should be less than in the previous year.
The figures make it clear how much Lufthansa suffered from the economic consequences of COVID-19. The Group does not expect a significant market recovery until the second half of 2021, thanks to the progress made in vaccination and the further spread and acceptance of test options. Nevertheless, Lufthansa assumes that it will only be able to offer a capacity of around 40 percent of the pre-crisis level for the year as a whole.
Can the state participation be ticked off?
Anyone who has been a Lufthansa shareholder for a long time should, in spite of this news, only look at their equity position with limited ease. In the long term, the share could not convince as an investment. Because of the recurring sharp price drops, for example, there have been price losses of an average of two percent per year over the past 20 years. The fact that the airline needed a state participation to rescue it from the Corona crisis is still an issue for many that you want to tick off as quickly as possible.