With demand sinking in Europe for flights – due to country lockdowns thanks to Covid-19/Coronavirus/Human Malware, Lufthansa Group has confirmed the number of aircraft being parked up.
And it’s big – with 700 aircraft being parked, leaving a mere 63 frames in the air.
So where are all these cuts coming from?
As you know, Air Dolomiti has paused operations recently (18th March), along with Austrian Airlines (19th March). Brussels Airlines will follow shortly (21st March).
Apart from special flights, these airlines will remain grounded.
Lufthansa’s Munich Long Haul hub has taken a major hit, with the entire service being cut. Long Haul flights will be offered from Frankfurt only. Lufthansa’s short-haul program will also be substantially reduced further, and only Lufthansa CityLine services will be operated from Munich.
Meanwhile, SWISS will offer only three long haul flights out of Zurich to Newark NJ, along with a substantially reduced short and medium-haul schedule.
With cuts like this, 700 out of 763 is hard – but expected in these times.
Lufthansa Group Airlines are also operating numerous repatriation flights, with around 140 flights being operated, being able to lift 20,000 passengers. More are being planned.
One section that isn’t hit it seems is Lufthansa Cargo – which is flying its regular programme, except for cancellations to mainland China. This allows the entire freighter fleet to be kept in the air.
Lufthansa Cargo is made up of 17 frames, including
- Seven Boeing 777F
- Six MD11Fs
- Four 777Fs leased from Aerologic
In addition to this, the airline is examining if it is possible to use grounded passenger aircraft as pure cargo aircraft to increase cargo capacity and keep supply chains going.
Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Executive Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG:
“The spread of the coronavirus has placed the entire global economy and our company as well in an unprecedented state of emergency. At present, no one can foresee the consequences. We have to counter this extraordinary situation with drastic and sometimes painful measures. At the same time, we must live up to the special responsibility that airlines bear in their home countries. We are doing everything we can to bring as many passengers as possible home on relief flights. In addition, we are doing our utmost to help ensure that supply chains for many thousands of businesses do not break down by mobilising additional capacity for air freight transport. The longer this crisis lasts, the more likely it is that the future of aviation cannot be guaranteed without state aid. In view of the massive impact of the Corona crisis, today’s publication of our results for the past financial year is unfortunately sidelined.”
Opinion: It’s About Survival
Any airline is now in survival mode at the moment – trying to shore up capital, reduce outgoings and so on – just so they can survive these events and come out the other end. Whilst the passenger network will remain decimated for some time to come, trying to get some of the aircraft back in the air to ensure supply chains can function, whilst not the greatest income puller in the world will keep more aircraft in the air.
And that’s going to be key in the coming weeks.
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