German airline group Deutsche Lufthansa AG said Tuesday it lost 112 million euros ($152 million) in 2009 as the industry struggled with low demand and weaker premium traffic sales through the economic downturn.
The loss compared with a net profit of 542 million euros in 2008.
The Cologne-based company, Europe's largest airline by sales, said operating profit fell 90 percent to 130 million euros from 1.3 billion euros in 2008.
In what it called "a difficult financial year," Lufthansa said 2009 revenue fell 10 percent to 22.3 billion euros compared with 24.8 billion euros in 2008.
Given the net loss, the executive board will propose not to distribute a dividend for the financial year 2009, the company said Tuesday.
Lufthansa did not provide a more detailed report or fourth quarter figures, but is scheduled to release its full 2009 earnings on March 11.
The company has said earnings for the last quarter and year would be substantially lower as it battles the effects of the downturn, which has caused demand for passenger and freight traffic to fall.
Sales of lucrative first and business class tickets have also been hit as passengers opt for cheaper economy class seats.
Despite the lower numbers, there have been bright spots over the last year.
In the third quarter of 2009, Lufthansa said it increased earnings as a result of the inclusion of new companies like Austrian Airlines and British Midland, whose contributions were recently consolidated into the group's.
Lufthansa also owns or holds stakes in other airlines including Swiss International Airlines, Brussels Airlines and JetBlue of the U.S.
In February the company and its Lufthansa pilots' union were able to stop a strike short of the four days of walkouts planned. The Lufthansa pilots went on strike for job security and fears that the company may switch routes — and therefore jobs — to cheaper group airlines. Talks between the two sides for a contract guarantee are to continue.
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