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Lufthansa accepts sweetened bailout deal after further negotiation

written by Dylan Nicholson | June 1, 2020
The 50th 747-8 at Boeing’s new Everett Delivery Center. (Boeing)

Lufthansa’s management board accepted a more favourable set of demands made by the European Commission in exchange for approval of a €9 billion government bailout.

The agreement comes after Lufthansa’s supervisory board on Wednesday rejected an initial deal with Brussels including conditions that were significantly more painful.

Lufthansa and the rest of the airline sector have been hard hit by what is expected to be a protracted travel slump due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Key to the disagreement was the number of take-off and landing slots that Lufthansa would need to give up at both Frankfurt and Munich airports.

The previous deal had included the forfeiture of 72 slots used by 12 of 300 jets based at the Frankfurt and Munich airports

Under the latest agreement, Lufthansa said it will be obliged to transfer up to 24 take-off and landing slots for up to four aircraft to one rival each at the Frankfurt and Munich airports.

This translates into three take-off and three landing rights per aircraft and day, it said, confirming what sources had earlier told Reuters.

“For one and a half years, this option is only available to new competitors at the Frankfurt and Munich airports,” Lufthansa said, initially excluding budget carrier Ryanair. “If no new competitor makes use of this option, it will be extended to existing competitors at the respective airports.”

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The slots, to be allocated in a bidding process, can be taken over only by a European peer that has not received any substantial state aid amid the pandemic, Lufthansa said.

The group’s supervisory board needs to approve the deal, Lufthansa said, adding it would convene an extraordinary general meeting in the near term to also obtain shareholder approval for the bailout.

The largest German corporate rescue since the coronavirus crisis struck will see the government get a 20 per cent stake in Lufthansa, which could rise to 25 per cent plus one share in the event of a takeover attempt. A deal would also give the government two seats on Lufthansa’s supervisory board.

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