* Lufthansa says pricing in March was slightly positive
* First positive comment on pricing since Aug 2013
* Shares rise to near three-year high
(Adds comments, historical comparison, shares)
BERLIN, April 11 Lufthansa said it had
seen a slight improvement in the price it gets for its tickets
last month, the first time in several years it has not reported
a decline, sending its shares to a near three-year high.
The comment came as the German airline group published
traffic data for March showing an 11 percent increase in demand
thanks to growth at its budget Eurowings division, which it is
expanding rapidly this year.
"Pricing was slightly positive in March on a
currency-neutral basis," Lufthansa said. A spokesman said the
good demand was helping pricing.
The last time Lufthansa described pricing as "positive" in
its monthly traffic update was as long ago as August 2013.
Its shares extended earlier gains to trade up 4.9 percent to
hit their highest level since June 2014.
Other European carriers also rose, with easyJet, Air
France-KLM and British Airways-owner IAG
gaining between 3 and 4 percent.
After a couple of years marked by falling ticket prices and
tough competition, executives at European carriers have said the
decline should slow this year.
Air France-KLM also said on Monday that the improved pricing
trend it had seen since the end of 2016 had continued in March.
Exane BNP Paribas analysts on Tuesday said fuel prices,
which are rising but relatively stable, should help yields at
European carriers this year and next as carriers are likely to
rein in growth in seat supply, but enjoy strong demand for
Lufthansa said on Tuesday traffic measured in revenue seat
kilometres rose 11 percent in March while capacity rose more
slowly at 9.9 percent. That meant the load factor - a measure of
how full planes are - rose 0.8 percentage points to 77.2
(Reporting by Victoria Bryan; Editing by Arno Schuetze/Keith