The German flag carrier Lufthansa is now fully back in private hands after the German government sold its remaining shares in the airline group for a total profit of €760 million.
Germany’s previous administration took a 20 per cent stake in Lufthansa in return for a 6 billion euro taxpayer-funded government bailout at the height of the pandemic in May 2020.
Lufthansa had already paid off the last remaining loan instalment years ahead of schedule in November 2021 after travel demand came soaring back much faster than anyone in the industry had initially anticipated.
The state-owned Economic Stabilization Fund (WSF) which was set up by the German government to bailout pandemic-hit businesses had been slowly reducing its stake in Lufthansa over the last few months but sold off its remaining shares on Tuesday, well ahead of an October 2023 deadline.
In a statement, the federal government’s finance agency said it had sold its stake in the airline group for 1.07 billion euros. The government had initially spent just 306 million euros for its 20 per cent stake in the airline.
“On behalf of all Lufthansa employees, I would like to thank the current and previous German government and all German taxpayers for their support of our Lufthansa during the most severe financial crisis in our company’s history,” commented Lufthansa chief executive Carsten Spohr.
“The stabilization of Lufthansa was successful and is also paying off financially for the German government and thus for the taxpayer.”
Lufthansa was a fully state-owned business until the late 1980’s when the government slowly started to reduce its ownership in the company. In 1994, Helmut Kohl’s government announced plans to privatise Lufthansa but it wasn’t until 1997 that the airline was fully privatised.
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.