Lufthansa and Air France-KLM weak, British Airways and SAS stronger

Shares in Lufthansa dipped 1.8% on Friday, despite Virgin Atlantic’s interest to cooperate with the German carrier to counter rising competition on the Atlantic.

Virgin Atlantic CEO, Steven Ridgway, stated it “would make a lot of sense to work more closely” with Lufthansa, following its acquisition of bmi. Virgin Atlantic, which has vigorously opposed the proposed trans-Atlantic alliance between British Airways and American Airlines, is concerned that the tie-up, if approved, would make the competitive landscape much tougher and may encourage it to seek cooperation with other carriers. British Airways’ shares gained 2.8% on Friday, while shares in Air France-KLM lost 3.6%.

SAS’ shares were stronger again on Friday, rising 5.5%, as investors digested the carrier’s plan to launch an additional EUR196 million cost cutting programme. The programme, aimed at generating “sustainable competitiveness”, includes establishing “full competitive” collective agreements for flight deck and cabin personnel, and entails further reductions corresponding to 1,000-1,500 full time employees. The programme is in addition to EUR440 million in “Core SAS’ savings and comes as the airline's yields continue to contract sharply.

Europe selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 14-Aug-09