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Aviation

Lufthansa embarks on path to increase operating profit

Germany's biggest airline, Lufthansa, has announced it's aiming to steadily increase its operating profit this year and beyond. The carrier has been struggling with fierce competition from low-budget airlines.

Lufthansa reported Thursday it would aim to slightly raise its operating profit throughout 2013, after booking 524 million euros ($678.6 million) in the previous year.

The company added that operating earnings would build up steadily over the next couple of years to reach 2.3 billion euros in 2015. CEO Christoph Franz admitted, though, that 2013 bottom-line profit would not match that of last year when the sale of its stake in travel booking firm Amadeus helped it to net earnings totaling 990 million euros.

"2013 will be a very demanding year for the company and its employees," Franz said in a statement. He explained the carrier's ambitious cost-cutting program, called "Score," was picking up speed.

Fuel costs a thorn in the side

Learning with Lufthansa

Lufthansa said savings endeavors under that scheme should wash a gross total of some 740 million euros into the company's coffers this year, after 618 million euros in 2012.

The airline made a point of stressing there was no alternative to the current financial consolidation course. It said increasing costs for fuel could only be compensated by savings on other fronts.

In 2012 alone, Lufthansa ran up a fuel bill of 7.4 billion euros, with 7.2 billion euros expected for the current year. The carrier said it would continue to invest in renewing its fleet. It planned to buy 102 new planes with a catalog price of some nine billion euros, among them two super-jumbo A380 aircraft.

hg/mz (dpa, Reuters)

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