German flagship carrier Lufthansa announced on Thursday that it will ax thousands of jobs amid projections of a bleak future for the global airline industry in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.
The company said it would operate 100 fewer aircraft, leading to an excess of 22,000 full-time positions, or 26,000 employees, across the Lufthansa Group. Half of the job losses will affect staff in Germany, it said.
Lufthansa warned earlier this month that cost-cutting measures, including job reductions, were on the cards. It had already instructed 87,000 of its around 137,000 staff to work fewer hours.
“The recovery in demand in the air transport sector will be slow in the foreseeable future,” Lufthansa said, with its CEO Carsten Spohr noting that “global air traffic has come to a virtual standstill in recent months. This has impacted our quarterly results to an unprecedented extent.”
Spohr said last month that the pandemic has become “the biggest challenge” in the company’s 65-year history.
Lufthansa suffered a 98-percent drop in passengers in April, and a 26-percent decline in passenger numbers in its first quarter compared to the same period last year. Net losses in the quarter surged to €2.1 billion ($2.4 billion), compared to losses of €342 million ($390 million) during the same three months in 2019.
After weeks of “intensive negotiations,” the struggling airline agreed in May to surrender landing slots at several of its German hubs in order to get approval for a $10-billion state rescue package.
Like other international airlines, Lufthansa was forced to ground nearly all of its fleet for the past couple of months amid the coronavirus shutdown which brought the global aviation industry to a near-total standstill.
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