Lufthansa revealed on Tuesday that one in seven pilots and one-sixth of cabin crew could be fired after the airline presented detailed plans to make an estimated 22,000 employees redundant across its business. The cuts will hit Lufthansa’s namesake brand, as well as subsidiaries including Austrian Airlines, SWISS and Brussels Airlines. Jobs will also be lost at the low-cost Eurowings, as well as Lufthansa’s catering and technical services divisions.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the German flag-carrier said the job losses would be permanent and were a direct result of the devastating impact the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought upon the entire aviation industry. Lufthansa chief executive Carsten Spohr has warned that it could take at least three years for the airline to recover from the crisis and even then the group will be flying 100 fewer aircraft and what it was operating just a few months ago.
Lufthansa executive board member, Dr Michael Niggemann said the mass lay-offs were necessary to secure another 100,000 jobs across the business. “Painful restructuring measures are unavoidable,” Dr Niggemann said of the situation, adding that the airline wanted to make the cuts “in a socially responsible manner.”
Details of the proposed job losses have now been shared with trade unions including the UFO cabin crew, Vereinigung Cockpit and Verdi. Lufthansa is now estimating it will need to eliminate:
- 600 pilots
- 2,600 flight attendants
- 1,500 ground staff
- 1,500 head office roles
A further 4,500 jobs could be lost at its technical services Lufthansa Technik division and as many as 8,300 jobs might be slashed at the LSG catering subsidiary.
Niggemann said short-time working, as well as agreements on compulsory part-time working might be possible to save jobs. Lufthansa is also likely to push for other cost-cutting and productivity improvements as unions strive to save jobs. The airline said more jobs will be lost if an agreement cannot be reached.
The Vereinigung Cockpit pilots unions said its members would be willing to take a 45 per cent pay cut over the next three years in order to save as many jobs as possible, while the UFO union said cost-cutting measures could only be accepted if redundancies were avoided.
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.