German airline Lufthansa to freeze hiring, cut costs over coronavirus

German airline Lufthansa said Wednesday it would freeze new hires and use unpaid leave and additional short-time work to cut costs to help cushion the economic impact of the novel coronavirus.

German airline Lufthansa to freeze hiring, cut costs over coronavirus
Lufthansa's logo on one of its plane wings. Photo: DPA

 “To counteract the economic impact of the coronavirus of the early stage,” the group, which also owns carriers Austrian and Swiss, said in a statement that “all new hires… will be reassessed, suspended or deferred”.

Employees would be offered unpaid leave and more part-time work and the
group would also seek to cut administrative costs, it said.

Lufthansa shares were showing a loss of three percent at 9:45 am on the
Frankfurt stock exchange, while the overall DAX index of blue-chip shares was
down 1.6 percent.

The stock has plunged around 13 percent this week alone.

“It is not yet possible to estimate the expected impact… on earnings,” the group said, adding that it would provide more details at its annual results press conference on March 19th.

The Frankfurt-based group said 13 of its aircraft were grounded, after it
cancelled all flights to and from mainland China by its flagship airline, as well as Austrian and Swiss until March 28th.

Lufthansa has also slashed connections with Hong Kong in the face of reduced demand “and additional frequency adjustments to and from Frankfurt, Munich and Zurich are planned,” it said.

READ ALSO: German airline Lufthansa extends China flight ban over coronavirus

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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