Lufthansa has reported an operating loss of €336m for the first three months of the year, hurt by rising fuel costs and overcapacity in Europe. 

Germany's biggest airline said late last night that a €202m rise in fuel costs had contributed to the loss.

Unit revenues at Lufthansa's airlines, which include SWISS and Austrian Airlines, as well as budget carrier Eurowings, also fell significantly in the period. 

The fall in earnings was accentuated by a tough comparison with the previous year when Lufthansa benefited from lower capacity due to the insolvency of Air Berlin, it said. 

Lufthansa reported an operating profit of €52m for the same time a year earlier. 

Lufthansa's loss follows a bleak trading update from British rival EasyJet, which said on April 1 it expected to report a £275m loss in the six months to the end of March. 

European airlines are battling overcapacity and high fuel costs, while uncertainty around Brexit has led to some travellers to delay booking summer holidays. 

Iceland's WOW air was the latest casualty in March, halting operations and cancelling all future flights after failing to raise more funds. 

Lufthansa said it expects revenues in constant currency terms to improve in the second quarter as booking levels recover, adding that for 2019, it still expects to make an adjusted operating profit margin of 6.5-8%.

The airline is due to publish detailed results for the first quarter on April 30.