Lufthansa Group is currently flying just 63 of its fleet of 763 aircraft, as the aviation industry continues to be battered by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Of the group’s carriers, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Air Dolomiti have all suspended regular operations, while Lufthansa has discontinued long-haul flights from Munich (some services continue from Frankfurt), and Swiss will offer just three long-haul flights per week to Newark.
Selected Lufthansa CityLine services are operating from Munich, and “a few European metropolitan areas” are being served from the group’s hub at Frankfurt, Munich and Zurich.
The group is operating a relief flight schedule in consultation with governments until April 19, accounting for only five per cent of its planned programme. Over 20,000 passengers will be flown home on special Lufthansa, Eurowings, Swiss, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Edelweiss services.
Meanwhile Lufthansa Cargo continues to fly its regular programme (aside from cancellations to mainland China), and the group says it is “examining the possibility of using passenger aircraft without passengers as pure cargo aircraft in order to further increase cargo capacity”.
Lufthansa Group has raised additional funds of €600 million in recent weeks, and currently has liquidity of around €4.3 billion, with further funds being raised.
Commenting on the news Ulrik Svensson, Chief Financial Officer of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, said:
“The Lufthansa Group is financially well equipped to cope with an extraordinary crisis situation such as the current one. We own 86 per cent of the Group’s fleet, which is largely unencumbered and has a book value of around €10 billion.
“In addition, we have decided to propose to the Annual General Meeting that the dividend payment be suspended, and we are proposing short-time working in our home markets.”
The group today announced earnings before interest and taxes for 2019 of €2 billion, but Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Executive Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG said that “In view of the massive impact of the Corona crisis, today’s publication of our results for the past financial year is unfortunately sidelined”.
“The spread of the coronavirus has placed the entire global economy and our company as well in an unprecedented state of emergency,” said Spohr.
“At present, no one can foresee the consequences. We have to counter this extraordinary situation with drastic and sometimes painful measures. At the same time, we must live up to the special responsibility that airlines bear in their home countries.
“We are doing everything we can to bring as many passengers as possible home on relief flights. In addition, we are doing our utmost to help ensure that supply chains for many thousands of businesses do not break down by mobilising additional capacity for air freight transport. The longer this crisis lasts, the more likely it is that the future of aviation cannot be guaranteed without state aid.”