Lufthansa on course for recovery, Ukraine crisis limits visibility

FILE PHOTO: A Lufthansa Airbus A330-300 aircraft is brought into a maintenance hangar at Lufthansa Technik Malta at Malta International Airport outside Luqa

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's Lufthansa, which narrowed its losses in 2021 but remained in the red, said it could not provide a detailed outlook for 2022 due to the war in Ukraine and the pandemic.

The airline said it expected significant improvement in operating results for the rest of the year after a challenging first quarter of 2022.

"We are very sure that air traffic will experience a strong upswing this year," said Chief Executive Carsten Spohr. "Now we are leaving the crisis behind us mentally and - in view of the strong booking figures this year - also in business terms."

But major uncertainties regarding developments in Ukraine and the economic and political fallout, as well as uncertainties regarding the course of the pandemic, did not allow the company to provide a detailed financial outlook, Lufthansa said.

Moscow has closed its airspace to European and U.S. aircraft after European states and the United States banned Russian flights.

Airlines are bracing for potentially lengthy blockages of key east-west flight corridors and preparing for further disruptions to its passenger and freight businesses.

Lufthansa Group, which includes Eurowings, Austrian Airlines and Swiss, plans to offer more than 70% of its pre-crisis capacity this year, rising to 85% for the summer.

The company reported a 2021 operating loss of 2.3 billion euros ($2.55 billion), in line with analyst forecasts. Shares traded 1.4% lower in early Frankfurt trade.

In 2020, the company reported a loss of 5.5 billion euros.

A partial sale or a partial listing of Lufthansa Technik was intended for 2023, Lufthansa said.

($1 = 0.9007 euros)

(Reporting by Ilona Wissenbach; Writing by Miranda Murray, Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Paul Carrel and Edmund Blair)