Lufthansa eyes stable pricing in late summer months

(Reuters) - Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) said it expected third-quarter unit revenues to be stable and raised the forecast for its air freight unit as the German airline benefited from booming travel demand to report a record profit for the first half of the year.
Lufthansa said on Wednesday it was seeing good trading in Asia and North America and now expected Lufthansa Cargo to report a profit for this year against earlier expectations of a loss.
The company reported core profit figures earlier this month and raised its profit target for the year at the same time to above last year's 1.75 billion euros ($2.07 billion). Analysts currently see 2017 profit at 2.14 billion.
Other European carriers including British Airways-owner IAG (ICAG.L) and easyJet (EZJ.L) have stepped up profit targets for the year on the back of booming summer demand.
However, budget carriers in particular have been cautious on pricing for the crucial late summer months. IAG and Air France-KLM (AIRF.PA) were more upbeat on unit revenues last week, thanks to long-haul fares.
Lufthansa said while it expected unit revenues to fall for the second half as a whole, they would be stable in the third quarter.
Its cargo arm reported a profit of 78 million euros for the first half of the year, compared with a loss of 45 million a year ago.
Demand for air freight has been better than expected this year as the sector benefits from lower capacity and a recovery in global economies.
Lufthansa shares were indicated up 2.2 percent.
 Lufthansa's (LHAG.DE) chief financial officer said the group is interested in helping to shape the Italian aviation market but is not willing to take over struggling national carrier Alitalia [CAITLA.UL] in its current shape.
"It is indeed a very interesting market and we will see how we can play an active role. We are not willing to indicate in what way we can play that role," Ulrik Svensson told analysts and journalists after the group reported second-quarter results.
Svensson declined to be drawn on whether the group has made a non-binding offer but said that Lufthansa was not interested in Alitalia as it looks today.
Ryanair (RYA.I) said last week it was among bidders for Alitalia but that it would only pursue a deal if the airline was restructured and government influence removed.
Lufthansa's Svensson also reiterated the carrier would be interested in leasing more jets and crew from Air Berlin (AB1.DE), but said that hurdles remained to a full takeover.
Lufthansa eyes stable pricing in late summer months Lufthansa eyes stable pricing in late summer months Reviewed by Alexander Von Stern on 02:02:00 Rating: 5