German carrier Lufthansa looks to further cut-costs despite better-than-expected losses in the first quarter. As Hayley Platt reports the results follow what seems to be a trend.
Losses at Lufthansa were expected but thanks to falling oil prices they were smaller than anticipated. The German airline posted a first quarter loss of 167 million euros. But further cost cuts are still needed to compete with low-cost carriers in Europe and competition from the Gulf and Turkey. And rising pensions and the ongoing pilots' strikes continue to be a problem. Joe Rundle is from ETX Capital. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) ETX CAPITAL, HEAD OF TRADING, JOE RUNDLE, SAYING: "The pilot unions issue is a big overhang for Lufthansa. They are a very good and well run airline just with this one big cloud over them and I think until that is resolved they are always going to be trading at some form of discount to the other carriers." The airline has proposed mediation to the pilot's union. But there's been no response so far. Talks and further strike action have been suspended following the crash of one of its Germanwings planes at the end of March. Lufthansa said the crash had hurt bookings but only for a short time and won't do any long term damage, as claims are being met by the airline's insurers. The results follow what seems to be a trend - losses at Air-France/KLM were also smaller than expected. Ryanair's passenger numbers in April were up and IAG, owners of British Airways and Iberia, posted its first profit since the group formed. Lufthansa confirmed its target for the year before tax and interest to exceed 1.5 billion euros, although it didn't see it significantly higher.