Lufthansa reports better than expected FY2009 results; British Airways benefits

European shares climbed for the third consecutive day on Tuesday (02-Mar-2010), reaching a near six-week high. Banking and auto maker shares were the biggest gainers, ahead of the release of new austerity measures by Greece to handle its debt issues. As a result, the majority of European carriers’ shares rose again.

Also pushing European carriers higher were IATA’s Jan-2010 traffic results, which showed European demand (RPKs) rose 3.1% year-on-year for the month, a sign European airline markets are improving.

In key markets, UK’s FTSE (+1.5%), France’s CAC (+1.1%) and Germany’s DAX (+1.1%) were all up at the end of trading.

Lufthansa reports better than expected FY2009 results

Lufthansa (+3.6%) gained after reporting a better than expected preliminary net loss of USD112 million for the 12 months ended 31-Dec-2009, compared to a profit of EUR542 million in the previous corresponding period. Operating profit for the period totalled EUR130 million, compared to a profit of EUR1,300 million in the previous corresponding period, while revenue fell 10% year-on-year, to EUR22,300 million. Lufthansa added its Executive Board will propose not to distribute a dividend as a result of the net loss. The carrier is scheduled to release its full financial results for the period on 11-Mar-2010.

DZ Bank analyst, Robert Czerwensky, stated the carrier’s result, despite a weak operating environment, was a sign of an improving market.

airBerlin strikes soon

airBerlin (-0.8%) slipped after The Cockpit Union stated it plans to stage three-hour walkouts at the carrier and its LTU subsidiary "in the coming days", in a dispute over working conditions. Cockpit stated it is seeking a medium-term harmonisation of conditions at Air Berlin with what it says are better conditions at the long-haul unit, LTU.

British Airways benefits from improved results of competitors

British Airways surged 6.2% to its highest level since Nov-2009 and was the UK FTSE’s biggest gainer.

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Europe selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 02-Mar-2010