Lufthansa’s shareholders have paved the way for the carrier to receive a €9 billion bailout, after overwhelmingly approving the package at an Extraordinary General Meeting.

There had been concerns that the rescue deal would not be approved, with the group’s largest single shareholder Heinz-Hermann Thiele being critical of the package in an interview in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung earlier this month.

But in the event Thiele voted in favour of the bailout plan, along with around 30,000 shareholders representing 39 per cent of the airline’s share capital.

Lufthansa said that “Of these, 98 per cent of the capital present voted to accept the company’s proposed resolution… far more than the necessary two-thirds majority voted in favor of adoption”.

Welcoming the news Carsten Spohr, chairman of the executive board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, said:

“The decision of our shareholders provides Lufthansa with a perspective for a successful future. On behalf of our 138,000 employees, I would like to thank the German federal government and the governments of our other home countries for their willingness to stabilize us. We at Lufthansa are aware of our responsibility to pay back the up to 9 billion euros to the taxpayers as quickly as possible.”

The package provides for stabilisation measures and loans of up to €9 billion, with the Economic Stabilisation Fund (WSF) of the Federal Republic of Germany making silent capital contributions of up to €5.7 billion to the assets of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, and establishing a 20 per cent stake in the share capital of Deutsche Lufthansa AG by way of a capital increase.

The European Commission had already approved the stabilisation package before the start of the EGM, and Lufthansa said that “A decision on the approval of the stabilisation measures in the other home markets of Lufthansa Group will be made in the near future”.