Lufthansa AG (DLAKY) led the European airline sector higher Tuesday as investors reacted to bullish statements from CEO Carsten Spohr at an industry event in Mexico late Monday. 

The head of Europe's second-largest airline by passenger numbers, Spohr said that the German company is not interested in a bid for ailing Italian rival, Alitalia, but that it might look at expanding in Italy depending on the outcome of the state backed firm's ongoing bankruptcy process.

"From an outlook perspective we are getting more optimistic every week regarding our demand situation, especially from the U.S. and from Asia," Spohr told reporters on the sidelines of the conference. 

Shares of Lufthansa rose nearly 2.7% in the opening two hours of trading in Frankfurt to change hands at €18.23 each, extending its year to date gain to more than 48%. The Stoxx Europe TMI Airlines index closed lower by 0.85% Tuesday. 

Airfrance KLM  (AFLYY) was another big gainer in the space Tuesday, up 2.6% to trade at an intraday high of €10.59, extending its gain since the beginning of January to more than 104%. 

KLM CEO Pieter Elbers also iterated a positive outlook for the current fiscal year, saying that long haul bookings and unit revenues were both healthy. 

He also said that KLM is looking at its relationships with third party bookings providers now that its major rivals have implemented surcharges for bookings made through third parties. 

The French airline has been the best performer, in terms of its stock price, in Europe this year as the shares came back from their 2016 terrorism-induced lows and concerns over politics in many parts of Europe began to recede.

easyJet (EJTTF) , a low cost carrier listed in London, said Tuesday that passenger numbers climbed by 9.5% during May, when compared with the same period one year ago, and that its load factor remained steady at 91.5% despite having added capacity during the last 12 months. 

Shares of easyJet rose more than 1% during early trading in London, to change hands at an intraday high of 1,361 pence, extending their year to date gain to more than 35%.