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Lufthansa reduces its fleet and closes its Germanwings subsidiary

The executive board “does not expect the air transport sector to return quickly to the level before” the pandemic.

The Lufthansa is losing altitude. The giant German air transport will permanently reduce the size of its fleet, separating from forty aircraft, the group announced Tuesday, April 7. The company will also close its Germanwings subsidiary. Decisions taken due to the coronavirus pandemic which has put the group's passenger operations almost on a halt.

The Management Board “does not expect a rapid return of the air transport sector to the previous level” the pandemic, which has plunged the industry into an unprecedented crisis, the company said in a statement. The “total lifting of travel restrictions will last for months” and the return of the request to normal “years”, specifies Lufthansa, which eliminated almost all of its passenger flights at least until April 19.

The group did not detail the impact on employment of this restructuring but promised that “the objective” was from “keep as many jobs as possible”. Discussions with unions must “get started quickly”, according to Lufthansa. In the meantime, more than 60% of the Lufthansa group's staff, or 87,000 employees, are or will be registered as part-time workers, including 62,000 in Germany.

Faced with the drastic drop in air traffic, the group counts “permanently reduce capacity” transport: at least 42 short, medium and long-haul aircraft will be withdrawn from the fleet currently made up of 763 machines. This includes six Airbus A380s whose sale to the manufacturer was “anyway expected from 2022,” said Lufthansa. Eleven Airbus A320s, seven A340-600s and five Boeing 747-400s will be withdrawn from the fleet of the eponymous company Lufthansa while Eurowings must lose ten A320s.

Otherwise, “Germanwings flight operations will be stopped”, added the company in a press release. For several years already, Germanwings was no longer a full-fledged company but integrated into the low-cost subsidiary Eurowings of Lufthansa, and the group had previously announced its intention to do away with the subsidiary. The VC pilots union has “denounced” lat closure of Germanwings, invoking “restructuring on the backs of employees”.

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