Lufthansa will need to double its current flight capacity if it is to break even the airline announced on Thursday. And while Lufthansa believes this might be possible at some point next year, the airline is currently losing around €11.6 million every single day despite “extensive restructuring measures” across the entire business.
“We want to return to a positive operating cash flow in the course of the coming year. In order to achieve this, we are advancing restructuring programs throughout the Group with the aim to make the Lufthansa Group sustainably more efficient in all areas,” explained Deutsche Lufthansa AG chief executive Carsten Spohr.
The airline confirmed plans to operate just 25 per cent of its pre-COVID capacity through the winter season as a resurgence of Coronavirus across Europe and North America dampened demand for travel and brought about a slew of new travel restrictions.
Spohr said the airline was basing its forecasts on becoming cash positive on the prerequisite that the airline starts operating at least 50 per cent of its pre-COVID capacity.
“We are now at the beginning of a winter that will be hard and challenging for our industry,” Sphor commented while saying Lufthansa “aspired” to be the leading airline group in Europe once the Corona crisis has passed.
Some critics, including rivals like discounter Ryanair, claim Lufthansa has an unfair advantage to achieve that aim through the help of a €9 billion bailout from the German government. Taking that bailout into account, Lufthansa still has €10.1 billion in liquidity available to see it through the winter ahead.
During the third quarter, Lufthansa lost €1.3 billion, whereas, in the same period in 2019, the airline reported a profit of €1.3 billion. Job losses, Lufthansa explains, are now inevitable, while the vast majority of staffers are working on short-time working arrangements to lower costs.
“People around the world have a great desire to travel again soon. Together with our partners, we are ready and will do everything we can to fulfil this desire as quickly as possible and with the highest health and safety standards,” Sphor concluded.
Like many airlines and the wider aviation industry, Sphor believes mass rapid testing is the best way to unlock travel restrictions and get the world flying again. While Germany currently offers testing on arrival to unlock quarantine, Lufthansa would like to see pre-travel testing open up markets like the United States which Europeans are currently locked out of.
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.