Airline Figures Point to Solid German Economy Amid Trade Dip By Bloomberg

© Bloomberg. A ground crew member stands beneath an Airbus A321 aircraft, operated by Deutsche Lufthansa AG, at Tegel airport in Berlin, Germany, on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. Boeing Co. staggered into a deepening global crisis as governments around the world grounded the company’s best-selling jet over safety concerns after a second deadly crash. Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

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Deutsche Lufthansa (DE:) AG data suggest domestic demand kept the German economy chugging along in March, offsetting weakness in exports and increasing the chances that Europe’s engine will avoid a recession.

Passenger traffic for Germany’s dominant carrier rose 4.1 percent in March compared with a year earlier, while cargo haulage dropped 1.1 percent, Lufthansa said Thursday. Although freight flown fell for a third straight month, the decline was less pronounced than in January and February.

The contrast between passenger and cargo numbers suggests Germans are confident enough to spend money on flights amid falling unemployment and rising pay, whereas the nation’s export champions are struggling to find buyers for their products amid global trade tensions.

Germany just managed to avoid slipping into recession in the fourth quarter of last year, when the economy stagnated after contracting in the July-September period. European Central Bank policy makers agree that euro-zone economic growth has held up in line with their official forecasts despite recent weak data, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg Thursday.

While the data reflects demand at Lufthansa’s biggest bases in Frankfurt and Munich, the airline also operates from hubs in Brussels, Zurich and Vienna.

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