Lufthansa sees turbulence ahead

At todays Annual General Meeting in Cologne, Lufthansa Chairman and CEO Wolfgang Mayrhuber presented shareholders with the second best result in the company’s history for 2008.

In reference to the current position of the Group, the Lufthansa CEO and Chairman stated that: “The crane is a tenacious bird. It can handle a little bad weather and knows when to take evasive action if the turbulence becomes too strong.” However, the extent and duration of the current economic crisis could not be forecast and the aviation industry should be prepared to face considerable consequences. “Hard times lie ahead. At present, we have consciously deployed the flaps, but we are always capable of increasing the throttle”, said the Lufthansa CEO.

 “The achieved economic result sets us distinctly apart from our competitors and places us in a positive light. If one takes into consideration the market environment in 2008 – an environment which saw fuel prices soar to record levels and the financial markets crisis, then we owe the Management and employees of the Group our special respect and thanks for what they have achieved. We were able to maintain our strategic course and possess a solid foundation, both financially and operationally. This represents a decisive advantage in overcoming the current crisis. With the excellent result of 2008 we have proven that the confidence of our shareholders in us is justified”, stated Mayrhuber in Cologne.

The ongoing crisis had a considerable effect on the current business year, but it would also offer opportunities in many areas according to Mayrhuber: “Subsidies are unnecessary in the aviation industry. What we need are reasonable and flexible framework conditions, and not new burdens.” Speaking on the prospect of a night flight ban at Frankfurt Airport, the Lufthansa CEO said, “At a time when the lights are going out everywhere from the Frankfurt banking district to Rüsselsheim, and the politicians are investing billions to rescue companies, we are still running the risk of the lights going out at Frankfurt Airport, one of the most important airports in the world, because of the pressure of a few people that oppose night flights, and of subsequently losing thousands of jobs and the export business that is so important for Germany.” In addition, Mayrhuber called for more flexibility from partners in the aviation value chain during times of declining passenger and cargo figures.

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