Lufthansa profit boosted by long-haul trafficLast Updated at 17 Mar 2011, 11:41 GMT *Chart shows local time
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Europe's biggest airline, Lufthansa, has reported a bigger-than-expected profit for 2010, thanks to cost-cutting and a pick-up in long-haul traffic.Deutsche Lufthansa said it made a net profit of 1.1bn euros ($1.53bn; £957m), up from a loss of 34m euros in 2009.
But the airline said it expected future problems from tough competition, high fuel prices and a forthcoming German air-traffic tax.
Chief executive Christoph Franz said: "2011 will not be a walk in the park."
The net profit was more than twice as high as analysts had been expecting.
Investors were further cheered by news that Lufthansa intended to pay a dividend for 2010 of 60 euro cents a share, which was also bigger than expected.
The figures were boosted by a strong recovery in the second half of the year, after a loss-making first half that saw disruption from the volcanic ash cloud in Iceland and a pilots' strike.
Despite uncertain conditions for 2011, Lufthansa said it still expected its revenues and earnings to "develop positively" this year and next year.
Lufthansa is still in the process of integrating two recent acquisitions - Austrian Airlines and UK carrier BMI.
It also has plans for a joint venture with All Nippon Airways, but has now warned that last week's earthquake and tsunami in Japan may delay the tie-up.