Lufthansa Group has announced plans to downsize its fleet, as part of a restructuring package forced on it by the coronavirus crisis.

The group said it believes “it will take several months until the global travel restrictions are completely lifted and years until the worldwide demand for air travel returns to pre-crisis levels”.

As a result it will permanently retire several aircraft, particularly from the Lufthansa fleet. Six A380s, seven A340-600s and five B747-400s will be decommissioned, and a further 11 A320s will be removed from short-haul operations.

As Business Traveller previously reported, the six superjumbos were already scheduled to leave the fleet in 2022, but the current crisis has accelerated this move.

Lufthansa to almost halve A380 fleet

Lufthansa said that “The decision to phase out seven A340-600s and five Boeing 747-400s was taken based on the environmental as well as economic disadvantages of these aircraft type”.

Last week the carrier confirmed it would serve just six long-haul routes during April, operating what it called “an urgently needed basic service”, with three weekly flights from Frankfurt to each of Newark, Chicago, Montreal, Sao Paulo, Bangkok and Tokyo.

And now the airline says that the downsizing will see the German carrier reduce capacity at its Frankfurt and Munich hubs post-coronavirus.

Meanwhile regional subsidiary Lufthansa Cityline (which operates to long-haul tourist destinations) will withdraw three A340-300s from service, while Eurowings will phase out ten A320s and reduce both its short and long-haul business.

The Germanwings brand (which operates as part of Eurowings) will be discontinued, and Eurowings will accelerate its objective of consolidating flight operations into one unit.

Lufthansa Group had already begun restructuring programmes at subsdiaries Austrian Airlines and Brussels Airlines, and said that these would be “further intensified due to the coronavirus crisis”, with reductions in fleet sizes at both carriers.

Brussels Airlines this week confirmed that it would not resume scheduled flights until at least May 15, and all Austrian Airlines operations are also currently suspended.

Finally Swiss will adjust its fleet size through the delaying of new short-haul aircraft deliveries, and it will also consider the early phasing out of older aircraft. The group has also terminated “almost all wet lease agreements with other airlines”.

Last month Lufthansa Group said that it had grounded 700 of its 763 aircraft.

The group said it would arrange talks with unions and workers councils to discuss “, new employment models in order to keep as many jobs as possible”.,,,