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Lufthansa Q3 profits down, confirms 2017 destination

[FRANKFURT] German airline group Lufthansa confirmed its objectives for the full year Wednesday, even as its third-quarter profit fell.

Between July and September - the key summer holiday period for European carriers - Lufthansa's net profit fell by 17 per cent year-on-year to 1.18 billion euros (S$1.89 billion).

But the decline was largely due to an accounting effect, the airline said in a statement.

In the third quarter of 2016, Lufthansa's bottom line had been boosted by the elimination of provisions following a pay and pensions deal with staff.

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The third-quarter figure for this year nevertheless beat analysts' expectations.

And underlying or operating profit increased by 32 per cent to 1.52 billion euros, on the back of an 11 per cent increase in revenues to 9.81 billion euros.

The result "gives us the investment and growth capabilities we need to play an active part in the consolidation of the European airline market," chief executive Carsten Spohr said.

In its rapid expansion, Lufthansa has snapped up more than half the aircraft belonging to bankrupt former competitor Air Berlin and recently made an offer to take over some European routes belonging to Italy's Alitalia.

For the full year, Lufthansa confirmed its forecast for an increase in operating profit from the 1.75 billion euros reported in 2016.