January 10, 2017 / 12:52 PM / 6 months ago

Lufthansa CEO says views 2017 with 'positive spirit'

2 Min Read

Planes of the Lufthansa airline stand on the tarmac in Frankfurt airport, Germany, March 17, 2016.Kai Pfaffenbach/File Photo

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) is positive for business in 2017, even after its share price was knocked this week by analyst downgrades, the airline's chief executive said on Tuesday.

"We had our first board meeting of the year and we have a quite positive spirit toward 2017," Carsten Spohr said at an event to showcase the carrier's digital efforts in Frankfurt on Tuesday.

Lufthansa said on Friday that it expected its fuel bill to rise by 400 million euros ($423 million) this year. Its share price dropped almost 6 percent on Monday and had lost up to 3 percent again on Tuesday after analysts said 2017 could be tough for European airlines' profits given the rising oil price.

Lufthansa is growing its Eurowings unit rapidly this year thanks to the takeover of Brussels Airlines and a deal to lease crewed planes from Air Berlin (AB1.DE).

When asked whether Lufthansa could take over the rest of Air Berlin, Spohr said there would be three main problems - Air Berlin's high cost base, its debt pile of over 1 billion euros and antitrust restrictions.

Reporting by Victoria Bryan and Peter Maushagen; Editing by Christoph Steitz

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