*****UPDATE: Lufthansa’s Supervisory Board has now approved the stabilization package, and will recommend it to shareholders at an EGM on June 25.*****
Lufthansa has moved a step closer to securing a €9 billion state bailout, after its Executive Board accepted revised conditions regarding the giving up of slots at its Frankfurt and Munich hubs.
Last week the carrier announced it had agreed an Economic Stabilisation Fund (WSF) from the Federal Republic of Germany, but Lufthansa’s Supervisory Board subsequently delayed acceptance of the package.
It was widely reported that the board had baulked at the EU Commission’s request that Lufthansa give up 72 slot pairs at Frankfurt and Munich as part of the deal.
These conditions have now been revised, with the carrier “obliged to transfer to one competitor each at the Frankfurt and Munich airports up to 24 take-off and landing rights (slots), i.e. three take-off and three landing rights per aircraft and day, for the stationing of up to four aircraft”.
For the first 18 months of the agreement the slots will only be available to new competitors at the airports – should no such airline(s) take up these options, then they will be made available to existing operators at Frankfurt and Munich.
The slots will be allocated by a bidding process, and Lufthansa added that “The slots can only be taken over by a European competitor that has not itself received any substantial state recapitalization as a result of the corona pandemic”.
The above conditions would appear to rule out Ryanair or Easyjet making use of the slots. Ryanair operates flights to Frankfurt from various airports including London Stansted, while Easyjet flies to Munich from airports including London Gatwick and Manchester.
The latter of these also recently secured a £600 million loan from the Covid Corporate Financing Facility issued by HM Treasury and the Bank of England, although it’s not clear whether this would constitute “substantial state recapitalization”.
The revised deal must still be approved by Lufthansa’s Supervisory Board. Following this Lufthansa will then call an Extraordinary General Meeting for shareholders to vote on the WSF package.