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Lufthansa Raises Profit Forecast 25%

Deutsche Lufthansa has raised its 2002 operating profit forecast...

Deutsche Lufthansa has raised its 2002 operating profit forecast by a quarter as air travel recovers from the September 11th attacks faster than expected. Shares of Europe's second largest airline and its European rivals rallied.

Earnings before interest and taxes are expected to be 500 million euros ($490 million), said Christine Ritz, a Lufthansa spokeswoman. Chief Executive Officer Juergen Weber last month forecast 2002 operating profit of 400 million euros.
?We're seeing a gradual building of more positive sentiment in the airline sector, capped by the news from Lufthansa today,? said Jonathan Wober, an analyst at Deutsche Bank who rates Lufthansa shares a buy. ?Whether it's sustainable or not remains to be seen.?

Lufthansa cut seating capacity to match lower demand after the terrorist attacks, helping it boost the proportion of seats sold, or load factor. The carrier last month slashed domestic fares as much as 63 percent to lure back more passengers. It has cut costs by 239 million euros over the last 16 months.