© Reuters. An advertising board of German air carrier Lufthansa is seen at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, February 12, 2019. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/Files

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Germany’s flag carrier Lufthansa reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss on Thursday as rising fuel costs cancelled out revenue gains from booming travel demand after lifted COVID-19 restrictions.

The airline’s adjusted loss before interest and taxes (EBIT) narrowed to 591 million euros ($627.46 million) in the first quarter from the 1.05-billion-euro loss it reported for the same period of 2021.

Analysts had on average expected the loss to narrow to 558 million euros according to a company-provided consensus.

At the same time, sales more than doubled to 5.36 billion euros – above analysts’ average forecast for 5.12 billion euros – as passenger numbers jumped both in business and leisure travel.

“New bookings are increasing from week to week,” Chief Executive Carsten Spohr said in a statement, adding that demand for freight capacity stayed high amid global supply chain disruptions.

“This makes our strategic decision to further strengthen Lufthansa Cargo even more valuable,” Spohr said.

The company also confirmed its forecast for an improvement in its adjusted EBIT in 2022 compared to 2021.

“The current level of bookings gives us confidence that our financial results will further improve in the coming quarters. We must pass through rising costs to customers,” Chief Financial Officer Remco Steenbergen said.

($1 = 0.9419 euros)

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