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Friday airline updates: Lufthansa losing €1m per hour

written by Dylan Nicholson | May 1, 2020
Grounded Lufthansa planes show the depth of the airline’s coronavirus troubles

Lufthansa Group chief executive Carsten Spohr said the airline is losing around €1 million per hour, in advance of an AGM next week.

The airline has now been forced to reduce its schedule back to 1955 levels, which Spohr described as “extremely bitter, devastating, and painful”. Now the airline is faced with surviving the current situation and then rebuilding its operations.

Lufthansa is reportedly on the brink of bankruptcy as negotiations continue with the German government for a €9 billion bailout.


Spohr and Chancellor Angela Merkel entered talks last week after the airline reported a €1.2 billion operating loss in the first quarter of 2020.

If the bailout talks fail, Lufthansa is reportedly also examining self-administered bankruptcy as an alternative.

Spohr advised that the current COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing crisis of flight demand now means the airline has practically no earnings.  However, it still needs to meet costs for staff, materials, rent and fuel hedging. As a result, the airline is currently losing around €1 million euros per hour, or €16,667 per minute.

In other airline news:

  • Pakistan has been given the green light to operate up to 12 repatriation flights from the US. The US gave the flights the tick of approval this week following a concerted effort by Pakistan to get flights up and running. Pakistan has a 12-month window in which to operate the flights.
  • United Airlines announced its financial results for the first quarter of this year. As expected, the coronavirus outbreak has caused massive losses for the Chicago-based carrier. Altogether, the airline reports a net loss of $1.7 billion and an adjusted net loss of $639 million.
  • Delta Air Lines and American Airlines have made face masks mandatory for all passengers and crew on board their aircraft. They will be providing them to passengers who do not have them, and the new rules will go into effect immediately.
  • Frontier Airlines has announced that passengers must wear face coverings from next week to protect against coronavirus. The airline’s flight attendants have been wearing protective facial equipment for a few weeks, but now passengers will also need to wear masks.
  • The government in Thailand has announced a $1.8 billion bailout fund for struggling state carrier Thai Airways. In an announcement on Wednesday, the government also confirmed that a committee of aviation and business professionals would oversee the airline as it restructures its debts and raises capital. However, the loan is conditional on the airline’s plans for the future.

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