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Confirmed: Lufthansa Will Ground Airbus A380 Fleet Until at Least May, Possibly Extended into June

Confirmed: Lufthansa Will Ground Airbus A380 Fleet Until at Least May, Possibly Extended into June

According to a leaked internal memo first obtained by aero.de the German flag carrier Lufthansa will ground all 14 of its Airbus A380 superjumbos until at least the end of May. The temporary suspension may continue into June and possibly even longer depending on how long the slump in passenger demand continues.

The memo, sent to staffers on Saturday, explained the airline’s decision saying that the average passenger load factor on the double-deck planes is currently only 35 per cent. Yesterday, Lufthansa said it was mulling grounding the planes at its hubs in Frankfurt and Munich but a decision appears to have already bee made just 24-hours later.

In the last few days, Lufthansa has warned of plummeting passenger demand, citing the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak for causing a massive slump in bookings. The airline initially said it would axe around 25 per cent of the short-haul schedule but now says it is drawing up plans to slash as much as 50 per cent of capacity over the coming months.

The Lufthansa Group – which also includes Austrian Airways, SWISS, Eurowings and Brussels Airlines – will ground 150 of its 770 strong aircraft fleet. The vast majority of which will be single-aisle short-haul network.

At present, Lufthansa has only announced 25 long-haul aircraft groundings but that number is expected to substantially rise in the coming days and weeks.

Lufthansa has also put a call out for employees to take voluntary unpaid leave or part-time contracts as it manages a surplus of cabin crew and pilots. In the latest memo, Lufthansa said it wanted to “clarify” details of those arrangements with staff within the next 48-hours.

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