Lufthansa to permanently retire selected A380, A340 and B747 aircraft

Marco Green
April 8, 2020

Lufthansa, which has already grounded most of its flights, will close its low-priced subsidiary, Germanwings, and retire some 43 aircraft, or about 6 percent of its total fleet.

The German flag-carrier says "it will take months until the global travel restrictions are completely lifted and years until the worldwide demand for air travel returns to pre-crisis levels" - which means its extensive aircraft fleet needs to be downsized to suit what's quickly becoming the new normal.

Based on this evaluation, the executive board has chose to implement further extensive measures to reduce the capacity of flight operations and administration long term.

Around the world, the International Air Transport Association has said up to $200 billion might be needed to rescue airlines.

Global airlines group IATA has said it expects airline passenger revenues to drop by more than 40% this year and warned that more than 25 million jobs in aviation and related industries are at risk. One year later, the airline's was gradually integrated with Eurowings' business and flight operations, but kept its own name and aircraft - until now.

Based on the estimate of a slow recovery, Lufthansa Airlines is decommissioning six Airbus A380 double-decker planes, seven A340-600s and five Boeing 747-400s.

Meanwhile, Lufthansa Cityline, which operates in Europe, will withdraw three A340-300 aircraft from service and end long-haul flights to tourist destinations for Lufthansa.

German airline group Lufthansa on Tuesday said it was shutting down its low-priced Germanwings unit and getting rid of dozens of planes to survive the impact of the coronavirus on its business.

The fate of Germanwings has hung in the balance as the low-priced sector came under pressure, and after a suicidal pilot deliberately flew a jet into a mountainside in 2015, killing all 150 people on board.

In addition to grounding the Germanwings brand, Eurowings will cut back its long-haul business, Lufthansa said. "All options resulting from this are to be discussed with the respective unions", it said.

Lufthansa is retiring Airbus super-jumbo jets and other aircraft to right-size operations with demand.

The restructuring programs already initiated at Austrian Airlines and Brussels Airlines will be further intensified due to the coronavirus crisis.

Lufthansa's overhaul is the latest shakeout in an industry ripe for consolidation. In addition, the Lufthansa Group airlines have already terminated nearly all wet lease agreements with other airlines.

Lufthansa's moves could be a hint of more drastic steps to come elsewhere.

Lufthansa has already idled more than 90% of its fleet since the virus outbreak and held talks with the German government about aid.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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