on Reuters (not that new though). See last part for LCC ,before you restart speculations:
NEW YORK, Feb 2 (Reuters) - German flagship airline
Deutsche Lufthansa AG remains confident it
will breakeven for full-year 2001, but 2002 forecasts remain clouded by economic weakness and uncertainty over air traffic demand, its chief executive said.
Lufthansa Chairman and Chief Executive Jurgen Weber on Saturday reiterated the airline's financial outlook for 2001, but said he could not forecast when traffic would rebound or whether Lufthansa would post a profit in 2002. "I think the worst is over, but we still cannot see a real improvement," Weber said in an interview during a visit to the World Economic Forum in New York.
Lufthansa in November said it expected to avoid an
operating loss for 2001 after third-quarter results beat market forecasts. Despite an expected plunge in fourth-quarter sales and near 64 percent drop in nine-month operating profits, the airline said it would end the year at around breakeven on an operating basis.
"We are still confident we will achieve this," Weber said.
Most major carriers have seen revenues eroded as they
struggled with the lingering economic downturn and the travel slump that followed the Sept. 11 airplane attacks. Weber said certain Lufthansa markets, such as China, are doing well, and business traffic to the United States is recovering.
But tourist traffic in New York continues to be off, and
European markets feel the pinch from cutbacks in business spending by corporations.
"This will come, the question is when?" Weber said.
Lufthansa is steadily adding back capacity. In March it
will restart flights from Munich to New York and also start a new service from Munich to Shanghai. The carrier still has 43 aircraft grounded as part of its cutbacks.
CALL FOR STANDARDS
Amid fundamental shifts in aviation, Weber said Lufthansa is pushing for global standards in security, international operations and insurance.
New standards have become crucial as carriers face tougher competition for fewer travelers, higher security and insurance costs and passengers deal with more scrutiny at airports, the airline said.
Lufthansa is eyeing further cost-cutting to offset the
rising security costs.
Talks with unions have already provided about a 220 milion euro reduction in employee costs for 2002, Weber said. But new insurance costs could add at least $100 million annually, and security costs are still being determined.
"Our opinion is that public security should be paid by the public and not by the airlines and their customers," Weber
Lufthansa is still considering starting a budget carrier,
but Weber brushed aside suggestions that it was threatened by smaller airlines, such as Irish start-up Ryanair. "It is a totally different business. How can they take Lufthansa market share? You cannot compare them with scheduled carriers such as Lufthansa," he said.
"We have done all the studies (for a budget carrier),
operationally we are ready to do it. We really just ask time to time if the business plan will be positive for us. When it is positive we will start, up until now it hasn't been," the chief executive said.
Ryanair, Europe's biggest budget airline, is trying
to extend its foothold in Germany and has said it has big expansion plans to make Frankfurt-Hahn its next hub airport.
Weber said a decision was also close in its talks with
Polish national airline PLL LOT on further cooperation
through codeshare flights and joint ventures.
"We were told that the Polish government would take a
decision by the end of February. It doesn't depend on
Lufthansa," he said.
I know it's only VfB but I like it!