Lufthansa plans €1 billion spending spree on planes

Germany's largest airline Lufthansa said Tuesday it would push "rapid growth" at low-cost subsidiary Eurowings by spending €1.0 billion on acquiring more planes, some of them from bankrupt competitor Air Berlin.

Lufthansa plans €1 billion spending spree on planes
Photo: DPA

“The funds will be used towards obtaining up to 61 aircraft, including 41 Airbus A320 Family aircraft” and 20 smaller turboprop planes, Lufthansa said in a statement – both types found in Air Berlin's fleet.

“Acquisition of the aircraft is partly dependent on the successful conclusion of negotiations” with the stricken carrier, the group added.

Lufthansa has emerged as the leading bidder for Air Berlin's assets, including valuable landing and takeoff slots at German airports, following its insolvency declaration in mid-August.

The group has already bought or holds an option to buy some 20 Air Berlin aircraft that were leased to Eurowings in recent months.

With Tuesday's announcement on top, the low-cost subsidiary will grow by a total of up to 81 aircraft.

It is not clear exactly how many planes Lufthansa wants to buy from Germany's number two airline, but chief executive Carsten Spohr recently suggested he could buy between 58 and 78 aircraft – around half of Air Berlin's fleet.

News agency DPA reported the yellow-and-blue liveried airline hopes to grab 55 planes belonging to Air Berlin subsidiaries Niki and LGW, as well as 13 more from the parent company, for a total of 68.

Meanwhile, Britain's EasyJet – the other bidder in talks with Air Berlin – is interested in 27 to 30 planes.

Operating the new planes would create “up to 3,000 additional jobs, especially in the cockpit and cabin crew fields,” the Lufthansa statement added.

Many of those posts could go to former Air Berlin employees.

The insolvent firm's administrators said Monday that as many of 80 percent of its more than 8,000 workers could find jobs at Lufthansa and Britain's EasyJet.

Air Berlin executives, administrators and buyers are set to thrash out deals to dismantle the company by October 12th.


Lufthansa fires up ‘jumbo jet’ for surge in German tourists bound for Mallorca

German airline Lufthansa said Friday it was taking "extraordinary measures" to meet surging bookings for the Spanish holiday island of Mallorca, deploying a jumbo jet to ferry passengers from Frankfurt.

Lufthansa fires up 'jumbo jet' for surge in German tourists bound for Mallorca
Tourists enjoy the first days of summer on the island of Mallorca. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/AP | Francisco Ubilla

The group said it had seen a jump in reservations from German sunseekers in recent weeks, as concerns about the pandemic ease thanks to falling infection numbers and vaccination progress across Europe.

To meet demand, Lufthansa said it would swap the 215-seat Airbus A321 that usually plies the Frankfurt-Mallorca route for its Boeing 747-8 “jumbo jet”.The 747, also known as the “Queen of the Skies”, can carry 364 people and is the largest plane in Lufthansa’s fleet.

The super-large planes normally fly transatlantic routes but have been
mostly grounded since the pandemic upended air travel.

READ ALSO: ‘I really needed a break’: Pandemic-weary Germans find freedom on Mallorca

“Lufthansa is taking extraordinary measures in order to respond to a significant increase in booking demand for flights to Palma de Mallorca,” the airline said in a statement.

The jumbo jet will be used for four weekends over July and August, it added, Europe’s key summer travel season.

Mallorca is one of the most popular tourist destinations for Germans and is sometimes affectionately referred to as Germany’s “17th state”.

Before the pandemic, around five million German tourists visited the island
each year.

READ ALSO: ‘Germans are coming back’: Spaniards sceptical over return of tourists