Lufthansa Group reported a full-year operating profit of €2.8 billion for 2018, marginally down on the record €3 billion profit it reported the previous year.

Group chief executive Carsten Spohr hailed “another successful year” for Lufthansa, noting: “We generated the second-best result in the history of our company.”

Lufthansa Group revenue rose 6% year on year, but fuel cost an additional €850 million on 2017 and the cost of delays and cancellations increased 70% to €518 million.

Last year saw a record number of delays due to air traffic control problems in Europe, predominantly in Germany and France.

Spohr reported a net profit of €2.2 billion for the year, down from €2.3 billion in 2017.

The group’s network carriers, Lufthansa, Swiss and Austrian Airlines, recorded an adjusted operating profit of €2.4 billion.

Lufthansa’s rapidly growing low-cost subsidiary Eurowings lost €231 million in the year but spent €170 million on integrating Air Berlin’s former fleet and operations at Dusseldorf.

Air Berlin ceased flying in October 2017 and its German operations were divided between Lufthansa and easyJet.

Chief financial officer Ulrik Svensson said: “We continue to work on reducing our unit costs by year. We managed to do so in 2018 for the third year in a row.”

Spohr announced a reduction in capacity growth for this summer to just under 2% amid overcapacity in Europe’s short-haul market.

However, Lufthansa increased its group fleet by 35 aircraft to 763 last year.

The carrier hailed a record year for passenger numbers from the UK, where the group carried 8.4 million – up almost 6% year on year.

Lufthansa Group senior sales director for the UK and Ireland Andreas Koester said: “We look forward to significantly increasing our leisure traveller numbers in 2019.”

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