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TRAVEL NEWS

Lufthansa back in private hands as German government sells rescue stake

On Wednesday, Lufthansa said the German state had sold the stake it took in the airline as part of a rescue package at the peak of the Covid pandemic, and booked a healthy profit in the process.

Lufthansa aircrafts in Hamburg.
Lufthansa aircrafts in Hamburg. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Daniel Bockwoldt

In the spring of 2020, borders were shutting worldwide, forcing airlines everywhere to ground planes and put staff put on forced leave.

To save Lufthansa from bankruptcy, the German government took a 20 percent stake in the group under a nine-billion-euro state aid package.

Under the deal, the government agreed to sell the stake by October 2023. But with the airline’s finances stabilising as travel resumed, Berlin was able to start selling its holdings as early as November last year.

READ ALSO: Germany’s Lufthansa records first net profit since the start of pandemic

Lufthansa said the remaining 6.2 percent of the share capital was sold on Tuesday.

“This brings the stabilisation of Lufthansa to a successful conclusion,” said Carsten Spohr, its CEO.

“The stabilisation of Lufthansa was successful, and is also paying off financially for the German government and thus for the taxpayer,” he added.

The state paid €306 million for the stake and sold it for €1.07 billion – a profit of €760 million.

“With this gratifying balance, the WSF’s (Economic Stabilisation Fund’s) participation comes to an end and the company is once again in private hands,” said Jutta Doenges, who ran the fund.

In August, Lufthansa reported its first net profit since the pandemic, booking €259 million in earnings for the second quarter as it benefited from pent-up demand for travel.

The group – which includes Eurowings, Austrian, Swiss and Brussels Airlines – made huge net losses of €6.7 billion in 2020 and €2.2 billion in 2021 as the pandemic shut down large parts of the airline industry.

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TRAVEL NEWS

EXPLAINED: How will Berlin’s new €29 transport ticket work?

Germany’s capital launched its follow-up to the €9 ticket on Tuesday, but the ticket will only be valid for those with subscriptions. Here’s what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: How will Berlin’s new €29 transport ticket work?

Tickets for the new €29 Berlin city ticket went on sale on Tuesday and eager passengers will be wondering how they can get their hands on the discount offer. However, unlike the nationwide €9 ticket, Berlin’s travel deal will only be valid in the AB fare zone of Berlin and for customers with a yearly subscription.

Why has Berlin brought in the ticket?

The Berlin state government and transport companies in Berlin developed the ticket to set an example for climate protection and make public transportation more attractive for Berliners. The state of Berlin is financing the offer which will bridge the gap between the end of the €9 ticket offer and a nationwide successor which should arrive in January.

READ ALSO: Berlin gets green light to launch €29 transport ticket

Where and when will the ticket be valid?

The €29 ticket will be valid on all buses, trams, U-bahns and S-bahns within the AB fare zone in the city of Berlin. Those wanting to travel into the C zone will need to buy an extension ticket.

Who is the ticket for?

Some people might be disappointed to find out that the ticket will only be available as part of a yearly subscription. All other tickets will retain their usual prices.

That means that people won’t be able to buy a monthly ticket for €29 unless it’s part of a yearly package, so certain groups of people, such as tourists, may not benefit from the offer.

From October 1st to December 31st, 2022, the monthly price for the following subscriptions in the Berlin AB fare zone will be reduced to €29:

–   VBB-Umweltkarten subscriptions with monthly and annual payments

–   10 o’clock ticket subscriptions with monthly and annual payments

–   VBB company tickets with monthly and yearly payments

–   Education monthly subscription ticket with monthly payments

The offer will not apply to ABC semester tickets. 

How will payment for the ticket work?

According to information from BVG, subscribers who pay monthly will automatically be charged the lower amount, while compensation for those who pay annually is expected to arrive at the end of the promotional period.

Can I get a yearly subscription starting from October and still benefit?

Yes. If you sign up for a yearly subscription on the BVG or VBB website, starting from October, you will be charged the lower price for the first three months of the subscription. If you start in November or December, you will pay the lower price for just those months. 

What happens once the promotion is over?

For those who don’t cancel their subscription by December 31st, their subscription contract will run for a total of 12 months. However, passengers can also switch to another VBB fare product, to another fare zone or to the successor product to the €9 ticket, which is expected to be valid throughout Germany from January 1st.

READ ALSO: Germany to set out plans for €49 transport ticket in October

When can the subscription be cancelled?

It seems that people will be able to cancel their yearly subscriptions. The BVG website says: “If we were not able to convince you of our performance and you decide not to continue the subscription beyond the promotional period, you can cancel your subscription at any time at the end of the month without any disadvantages.”

Vocabulary

Subscription – (das) Abonnement

Extension ticket – (der) Anschlussfahrausweis

Yearly – jährlich

Monthly – monatlich

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

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