Lufthansa Has The Wind Beneath Its Wings

The carrier has cut staff and costs and beaten back rivals

Jurgen Weber is flying high. A year after free competition hit Europe's airlines, Lufthansa's 56-year-old chief executive is making Germany's former flag carrier a stalwart competitor. Under a cadre of young management recruits, Lufthansa's burdensome cost structure is crumbling--and earnings are soaring. Pretax income rose 118% in 1997, to $815 million, on sales of $12.5 billion. Says Guy O. Kekwick, a Goldman, Sachs & Co. analyst in London: "They're in better shape than they've ever been."

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