German airline operator Deutsche Lufthansa AG said Wednesday it lost euro32 million in the first nine months of the year as the economic downturn weighed on travel demand.
The loss compares with a net profit of euro529 million in the January-September period of 2008.
Europe's biggest airline by revenue said revenue for the period fell 13 percent to euro16.2 billion from nearly euro19 billion in the year-ago period.
The company achieved an operating profit of euro226 million in the first nine months, 76 percent below the operating result of euro954 million in 2008.
Lufthansa said the operating profit results included euro28 million in first-time contributions from its Austrian Airlines and British Midland subsidiaries, as well as the reversal of a euro61 million provision related to the consolidation of Austrian Airlines.
Lufthansa did not provide quarterly figures but is expected to release a more detailed earnings report Thursday.
In the short, preliminary statement Wednesday, the company said "the positive outlook for the year remains subject to very considerable risks."
The company said it faced persistently weak demand and prices, as well as renewed oil price increases.
Lufthansa said "a sharp drop" in revenue and pressure on earnings is expected for the full year, and that the fourth quarter would be decisive on whether the company will be able to post an operating profit for the whole of 2009.
It said some airlines the group owns could make a loss for the year, but didn't specify which.
Lufthansa owns or holds stakes in airlines including Swiss International Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and JetBlue of the U.S.
Shares of Lufthansa were 4.3 percent lower at euro10.48 in Frankfurt afternoon trading.
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