In 2008 the course of Lufthansa’s business was affected to a varying extent by a number of external factors. At the beginning of the year Lufthansa benefited from what was still strong economic growth in many areas. During the course of the first half-year the Group was able to absorb dwindling demand in some regions and sectors thanks to its diversified structure. The Group was able to make up for the burden of rapidly rising oil prices, at least in part, by means of its long-term hedging strategy, raising fuel surcharges, optimising costs and increasing efficiency in other areas.
At the start of the second half-year revenue and volumes were still developing well, but Lufthansa began to feel the effects on earnings of high fuel costs and a intense collective bargaining dispute. Driven by the financial market crisis the wider economic climate became noticeably gloomier in all regions, which also affected the business segments in the Lufthansa Group – albeit to varying degrees. Primarily in Passenger Transportation and Logistics, these developments led to a partly drastic fall in demand in the fourth quarter, to which the segments responded by adjusting capacity and tightening cost-saving programmes already in place. Demand continued to weaken into the new year. The Group will therefore continue to follow market developments carefully, use its flexibility and take additional steps as necessary to react to any further deterioration.