The chief executive of Germany’s flag carrier airline Lufthansa has told staffers in an internal memo sent on Friday afternoon that the carrier will likely lose as many as 10,000 staffers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and will permanently ground as many as 100 aircraft. Carsten Spohr had previously warned that up to 7,000 workers and 80 planes could be lost because of the crisis.
Spohr’s dire warning came as the airline group – which also owns Austrian and Brussels Airlines, as well as SWISS and the low-cost subsidiary Eurowings – was closing in on a €10 billion government-backed bailout. The airline is currently losing €1 million every hour of every day and owes more than €4.9 billion in payments and refunds.
Lufthansa’s total liquidity is only €4.4 billion meaning the airline group faces possible bankruptcy unless state aid is forthcoming. The airline has already discounted the possibility of being able to get any loans from a commercial bank or lender because of its financial situation.
A loss of 10,000 jobs would equate to a 7 per cent reduction in the Lufthansa Group’s total workforce of 140,000 employees. Spohr told staffers that he now doesn’t expect to “regain our footing in 2023”. He continued: “Then the Lufthansa Group will be a different company.”
Lufthansa has already announced plans to permanently retire six Airbus A380’s, five Boeing 747-400’s and its entire 17 strong fleet of Airbus A340-600’s.
Once Lufthansa’s so-called “repatriation flight schedule” has concluded, the airline says it’s not currently “possible to foresee” when flight operations will resume. Several Lufthansa Groups airlines including Austrian have suspended all normal operations since mid-March.
By the end of 2021, Austrian expects demand to have only reached 75 per cent of pre-Coronavirus levels.
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.