Earlier today, Lufthansa reported passenger figures for a record setting 2011. I’ve attached the official press release from Lufthansa below but here are some of the key take aways:

* 106.3 million passengers carried by Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian, BMI, and Germanwings. To put that into context, it would be the equivalent of every citizen of Mexico being on one Lufthansa flight last year.

* Forecasts 3% growth (passengers) for 2012 compared to 7.5% growth in 2011. This growth forecast is a good development considering that the IATA is forecasting operating losses for European carriers due to the ongoing economic challenges of the continent. More passengers translates into better potential for profitability.

*Lufthansa Cargo sales were up slighty but capacity was higher, so the net load factor was down 1.4% to 69.5%.

*Lufthansa will report full year 2011 financial results on March 25, 2012.

The Press Release:

Lufthansa Group in 2011 with record passenger figures
Group airlines carry over 106 million passengers in total / Passenger Airline Group still plans low-level growth of 3 percent in 2012 due to weak economic environment

East Meadow, NY, January 11, 2012 – The airlines that make up the Lufthansa Group carried a record number of passengers in 2011. A total of 106.3 million passengers chose to fly with Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian Airlines, bmi and Germanwings. This is equivalent to growth of 7.5 percent compared to the previous year. The Group increased its capacity by 9.8 percent overall in 2011, while its revenue seat kilometers rose by 7.0 percent. The average passenger load factor for the aircraft correspondingly fell by two percentage points to 77.2 per cent.

The trend of decreasing sales that emerged this past fall, continued in the remaining months of the year. Group-wide, it proved not possible to match the level of sales growth recorded at the beginning of the year. In light of this development and ongoing economic uncertainty, the Passenger Airline Group plans to achieve low-level growth of 3 percent in its available seat kilometers in the full year 2012. This will be realized by using larger aircraft and introducing the New Europa Cabin on Lufthansa Passenger Airlines’ European routes. A total of 65.5 million passengers flew with Lufthansa-brand planes in 2011 – 11.1 percent more than in the previous year. Lufthansa expanded its capacity by 11.8 percent in the full year, while sales were up 8.8 percent. The load factor was 2.2 percentage points down year on year, at 77.2 percent. In 2011, SWISS carried approximately 16.4 million passengers; at Austrian Airlines passenger numbers came to 11.3 million; around 5.7 million passengers chose to fly with bmi; and Germanwings had approximately 7.5 million passengers.

Lufthansa Cargo recorded growth of 5 percent in its tonne-kilometers transported in 2011 and carried a total of 1.9 million tonnes of freight and mail. Capacity grew by 8.6 percent in the full year, while sales were up 6.5 percent. This prompted the load factor to drop by 1.4 percentage points to 69.5 percent.

The Lufthansa Group’s financial results for the full year 2011 will be published on 15 March 2012 and will be available for download at www.lufthansa.com/investor-relations starting at 8.00 a.m.