German flag-carrier Lufthansa now says it could slash its flight schedule by as much as half in the coming weeks because the rapidly changing Coronavirus situation has led to a “drastic” decline in bookings. Yesterday, Lufthansa said it would cut capacity by around 25 per cent across the group which also includes Austrian Airlines, SWISS, Eurowings and Brussels Airlines.
Lufthansa also says it is considering temporarily decommissioning its Airbus A380’s because so few passengers are choosing to fly at the moment, although no final decision has yet been made. The airline has 14 of the superjumbos in its fleet which are based in Munich and Frankfurt.
A couple of days ago, Lufthansa made public plans to ground 150 aircraft – around 20 per cent of the 770 aircraft in the airline group’s fleet. This latest development, however, would suggest the airline will ground significantly more planes as the situation develops.
Slashing capacity and grounding planes is an attempt to reduce the financial consequences from the slump in demand, explained a spokesperson for the carrier. The airline has already confirmed plans to put staff on unpaid leave and offer part-time working to more employees. A hiring freeze is currently in force and some newly hired staff have had their contracts revoked.
While Lufthansa says it’s far too early to “estimate the burden on earnings”, its hoping to save some costs on using less fuel, paying customers less and grounding unneeded planes.
Lufthansa previously reported 7,100 flight cancellations for the month of March but this number may now rise considerably. While capacity could be reduced by as much as 50 per cent, final decisions have not yet been made.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.