Air France-KLM, British Airways and Austrian higher, Lufthansa flat after weak earnings report

Lufthansa's shares closed virtually flat yesterday (+0.2%) as the carrier’s preliminary 1H2009 financial results failed to engender investor confidence, despite the Group’s efforts directed at “generating an operating profit for the full year 2009”. Lufthansa reported an operating profit of EUR8 million for the three months ended 30-Jun-09, down 98.8% year-on-year and a net loss of EUR216 million (compared to a profit of EUR381 million in the previous corresponding period).

Austrian Airlines’ shares gained 0.7%, as the carrier stated its takeover by Lufthansa will “probably be sealed in August”. Shares in Air France-KLM were up 3.6% yesterday, while the Paris CAC Index closed 1.04% higher.

Elsewhere, British Airways’ shares gained 2.0%, as the carrier announced cost reduction measures, including plans to remove in-flight meals on short-haul services less than two hours and delays to pre-delivery payments for B787 aircraft (for which it is holding discussions with Boeing). The carrier also reportedly plans to suspend services in off-peak periods in Oct-2009, Dec-2009 and Feb-2010 on the London Heathrow-Sydney via Singapore sector, and reduce capacity to Chicago, New York, Seattle and Johannesburg.

Europe selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 29-Jul-09