Lufthansa Group cuts 95% of flights due to financial toll of coronavirus

Mar 19 2020, 1:12 pm

Like many other companies within the travel industry, Lufthansa Group has suffered significant financial losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement issued to its official Lufthansa Group website, the airline’s CEO, Carsten Spohr, explained the significant impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on Lufthansa as well as its subsidiary airlines.

“The spread of the coronavirus has placed the entire global economy and our company as well in an unprecedented state of emergency,” the statement reads.

“At present, no one can foresee the consequences. We have to counter this extraordinary situation with drastic and sometimes painful measures.”

Spohr continues that the company’s airlines also have responsibilities in their home countries as well, referring to the ongoing repatriation efforts.

“Lufthansa Group airlines are currently offering around 140 special relief flights. More than 20,000 passengers are thus flying home with Lufthansa, Eurowings, SWISS, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Edelweiss,” the site explains.

Additionally, the company is doing all that they can to assist in maintaining the supply chains in Germany and Europe.

“Lufthansa Cargo continues to fly its regular programme, except for cancellations to mainland China, keeping the entire freighter fleet in the air. This currently consists of seven Boeing 777Fs, six MD11Fs and four 777Fs from Aerologic. In addition, the company is currently examining the possibility of using passenger aircraft without passengers as pure cargo aircraft in order to further increase cargo capacity.”

Spohr details that the longer the coronavirus pandemic continues, the more likely it will be that future flights cannot be guaranteed without financial assistance from the state.

The group has already taken steps to limit its flights for subsidiary airlines due to the cost of operations, decrease in demand, and entry restrictions imposed by many countries across the European Union as well as internationally.

As such, Austrian Airlines will be temporarily suspending scheduled flight operations as of Thursday, March 19.

All flights are cancelled until March 28, 2020, and passengers with pre-existing reservations during this time will be rebooked on other airlines if possible.

Air Dolomiti has also discontinued its regular flight operations between Germany and Italy as of March 18 until April 19, 2020.

Brussels Airlines will not be offering any of its regular flights from Saturday, March 21 to April 19, 2020.

Additionally, Lufthansa is discontinuing its long-haul operations in Munich and will only offer long-haul flights from Frankfurt.

SWISS will only offer three weekly long-haul flights per week to Newark (New Jersey, USA) on top of an already substantially reduced short and medium-hale schedule.

Lufthansa’s short-haul flights will also be significantly reduced, and only Lufthansa CityLine operations will continue service from Munich.

From the Frankfurt, Munich, and Zurich hubs, only select metropolitan areas in Europe will be served.

Also, “the relief flight schedule runs until April 19 and only provides for a total of about five percent of the originally planned program,” the Lufthansa website explains.

“Around 700 of the Lufthansa Group’s 763 aircraft will be temporarily parked.”

This new time table will be in effect until April 12, 2020.

Those who have flights that may be impacted are urged to go to the Lufthansa website and search under the ‘My Bookings‘ or ‘Flight status‘ features, to remain up to date on the most current flight information.

To cope with the substantial financial toll, the Lufthansa Executive Board has also decided to waive 20% of their salaries.

Airlines across the world are experiencing immense financial turmoil due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and the entire travel industry is facing the consequences from cruise lines to hotels to entire country lockdowns.

It is difficult to say for sure how quickly numbers will increase once these sanctions and preventative measures are lifted.