Losses mount for Lufthansa, Air France-KLM

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German airline Lufthansa says its net loss widened in the first quarter due to costs from restructuring and a strike by cabin personnel.

Net losses deepened by 16.5% to €459 million ($600 million). Revenue increased 0.1% to €6.6 billion.

The one-day strike on March 21 shut down almost all of Lufthansa’s 1,700 flights. The airline also took a charge of €64 million for severance and other costs of restructuring. And it noted Thursday that the first quarter is typically a weak one.

(Photo: Federico Gambarini, AP)

The airline stuck with its forecast for increased operating earnings this year over last year, but warned that the company would have to press ahead with restructuring in order to compete with big airlines in the Middle East and European low-cost carriers.

Elsewhere on Friday, Air France-KLM says its losses mounted sharply in the first quarter compared to a year earlier, when earnings were boosted by a gain in the value of oil price hedging contracts the airline uses to manage its fuel costs.

Air France-KLM says it lost €630 million ($821 million) in the January-March quarter, compared to a loss of €379 million a year earlier. Last year’s result benefited from a €220 million gain on the airline’s hedging contracts.

The airline, in the midst of a three-year turnaround plan, says it is hoping to strengthen its position by paying down debt and reducing staff costs further.

Air France-KLM is struggling to compete against low-cost carriers and has said it expects to cut about 5,000 people in its workforce of 49,000.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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