Frankfurt Airport Engages In Cost-Cutting Measures Due To Coronavirus

Germany’s biggest airport and Lufthansa’s main hub, Frankfurt am Main Airport (FRA), has implemented extensive cost-cutting measures as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Business and operating costs are all being scrutinized to save money following a reduction in air traffic. The cost-saving measures include staff being offered voluntary unpaid vacations, full-time work shifting to part-time and new hires being assessed individually.

Frankfurt Airport is asking staff to take unpaid leave. Photo: Fraport

All of the restructuring comes after a worldwide slowdown in both passenger traffic and cargo movements being witnessed not only in China, but Asia as a whole.

The coronavirus has spread to every continent except Antarctica

The reduction in travel demand has put immense pressure on Frankfurt Airport’s hub operations and is having an impact on everything from flight operations to cargo handling, retail shopping and food, and beverage offerings.

Airport operating authority Fraport AG has responded quickly to the slowdown in demand by implementing cost-cutting measures that include reducing staff levels.

Frankfurt Airport
Passenger numbers are down due to the coronavirus. Photo: Marek Ślusarczyk Wikipedia Commons

While the coronavirus continues to spread having reached every continent except Antarctica, Fraport AG will only take on new hires under exceptional and justified cases. All current employees in both operational and administrative jobs have been offered voluntary unpaid leave or a reduction in their working hours to make up for a lack of demand for services.

Fraport AG will continue to ensure that the airport runs smoothly

Fraport AG is carefully monitoring the situation with regards to the coronavirus and travel bans. It says it will make all adjustments necessary to ensure that, despite the reduction in staff, all operations at Europe’s fourth busiest airport continue to run smoothly.

The company executive board chairman, Dr. Stefan Schulte emphasized,

“The coronavirus epidemic comes at a time when Germany’s aviation industry, in particular, is already facing significant challenges. In April, an increase in the German aviation tax will unilaterally strain our industry even more. However, aviation has survived a number of crises in the last few decades and emerged stronger every time. We are responding decisively to this difficult situation with our timely countermeasures.”

In a statement in which Dr. Schulte’s comments were quoted, the airport operator went on to say that is was still too early to tell how long the current situation would last.

With flight cancellations mounting and passenger volumes declining, Fraport AG says for now at least they are unable to say how much of an impact the coronavirus will have on its operating profits.

The airport operator will issue guidance on the current financial year at a press conference to be held on March 13th, 2020.

Lufthansa to reduce flights to Italy

Frankfurt Airport’s biggest customer Lufthansa today issued a press statement saying that it was continuing to suspend flights to China until the 24th of April and to Iran until the 30th of April. With regards to the European hotbed of the coronavirus in Italy, the German national flag carrier said that it was reducing the number of flights to Milan, Venice, Rome, Turin, Verona, Bologna, Ancona, and Pisa.

Lufthansa is cutting flights to Italy. Photo: Fraport

According to the statement, the availability of short- and medium-haul flights may be reduced by up to 25% in the coming weeks with the possibility of long-haul aircraft not in operation, increasing from 13 to 23.

The coronavirus has hit airlines and airport operators, particularly hard and will continue to do so until the spread of the coronavirus is under control.

Have you canceled or changed your travel plans since the outbreak of the coronavirus and do you think airlines are being responsible enough in how they are dealing with the crisis? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments.