Lufthansa to cancel 23,000 flights in April over coronavirus

German airline Lufthansa said Wednesday it would cancel 23,000 flights across the group, a 50-percent reduction, as it tries to deal with the fallout from the coronavirus crisis.

Lufthansa to cancel 23,000 flights in April over coronavirus
Photo: DPA

“Due to the exceptional circumstances caused by the spread of the virus,” Lufthansa said it would scrap 23,000 flights between March 29 and April 24th, with more “expected in the coming weeks”.

Up to now, Lufthansa had detailed 7,100 cancellations up to the end of its winter flight plan on March 28th.

READ ALSO: Germany's Lufthansa to slash half of flights over coronavirus

Then on Friday the Frankfurt-based group, whose brands include Eurowings, Austrian Airlines and Swiss, reported “drastic declines in bookings and numerous flight cancellations”, saying it would slash capacity by 50 percent in the weeks ahead.

Shares in the group fell Wednesday, trading down 1.2 percent at €10.31 just after 2 pm against a roughly flat DAX blue-chip index.

Coronavirus disruption has cost Lufthansa around one-third of its share price since late February.

The group said Wednesday that its “capacity adjustments mainly affect
Europe, Asia and the Middle East”, adding that it would aim to keep serving all destinations with at least one airline from its hubs in Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich, Vienna and Brussels.

Last week, the group said it would not fly routes to China and Iran until
late April, while Israeli restrictions on non-resident arrivals from some EU countries prompted it to scrap flights there until March 28th.

READ ALSO: Coronavirus: These are the countries banning or restricting travel from Germany

The group is also looking into temporarily taking “the entire Airbus A380 fleet” out of service in Frankfurt and Munich, amounting to 14 of the mammoth aircraft.

It asked passengers to check their flight status on the Lufthansa website before travelling.

Lufthansa has also instituted a hiring freeze, offered unpaid leave and is considering slashing workers' hours “to avoid dismissals”.

The group is due to release its 2019 results on March 19th and will likely face questions over the expected financial impact of the epidemic.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently warned the cost in in lost revenue for the industry could be in the range of $63-$100 billion.

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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