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Lufthansa to ask German government for financial help

written by Adam Thorn | March 9, 2020

Lufthansa confirmed on Monday that it will ask the German government for money to help it survive the coronavirus downturn.

The news comes after the group, which includes Swiss International Air Lines and Austrian Airlines, announced on Friday it plans to cut half its flights and possibly ground its entire A380 fleet.

Chief executive Carsten Spohr said in an internal memo, “The impact on our booking situation is immense. We must assume that it may take months before we will see the first signs of stability.”

The company said on Sunday it was applying for ‘Kurzarbeit’, a program that lets the government offset wages lost when companies are forced to temporarily stop work.

Germany currently has 930 cases of COVID-19 and, on Sunday, nearby Italy reported a 50 per cent surge in cases from the day prior.

Over the weekend, Italy ordered an unprecedented peacetime lockdown of 16 million people in its wealthiest region in the north, including Milan and Venice.

On Friday, Lufthansa said in a statement, “Depending on the further development of demand, capacity is to be reduced by up to 50 per cent in the coming weeks. These capacity adjustments apply to all passenger airlines in the Lufthansa Group.


“In addition, the extent to which the entire Airbus A380 fleet (14 aircraft) can be temporarily taken out of service in Frankfurt and Munich is currently being examined.”

The statement added that it is set to follow other airlines’ lead and offer unpaid leave to staff or the option to bring annual leave forward.

“It is not yet possible to estimate the burden on earnings to be expected from current developments,” Lufthansa said.

The drastic measures came days after the business said it would ground 20 per cent of its fleet.


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