The Lufthansa Group will ground 90% of its fleet as a result of the coronavirus crisis. Around 700 of the Group’s 763 aircraft will have to be grounded as a result of the unprecedented lack of demand for travel, tied with government-imposed travel restrictions.
Three Lufthansa Group airlines have fully grounded their fleets as a result of what could possibly be the worst single event to ever affect the aviation industry. Earlier today, the airline released its annual results for the 2019 financial year. This included the most comprehensive state of affairs from the airline group to date. Let’s take a look.
So far, three Lufthansa Group airlines have either completely suspended operations or have planned to ground aircraft entirely. Lufthansa subsidiary Air Dolomiti operated its last flight for the foreseeable future yesterday. Additionally, earlier today the last Austrian Airlines flight for at least 10 days landed in Vienna. Finally, Brussels Airlines will ground its fleet for a month on Saturday.
Lufthansa, the airline, won’t be immune to the effects of the crisis. Already, it had grounded a huge number of aircraft. However, operations will be further curtailed. In fact, for the time being, the German flag carrier will be scrapping long-haul operations from its Munich hub. In fact, only Lufthansa CityLine services will be operational from Munich.
SWISS looks like it will continue operations for now, but only just. It will only operate three long-haul flights per week, all to Newark (EWR). In addition, the airline will only operate a skeleton short-haul service.
Special operations are still ongoing
Lufthansa is still keeping around 60 aircraft in the air for the immediate future. This includes the airline’s entire fleet of cargo aircraft. This is to ensure that the supply chains in Germany, and indeed Europe, don’t grind to a halt.
Additionally, like a number of other airlines, Lufthansa is exploring the possibility of using passenger aircraft solely for transporting freight. While passengers currently can’t or don’t want to fly, freight still needs to move around the world.
Lufthansa is working with the German Government to repatriate German citizens from around the world as well. According to the airline group, 140 such flights have already been scheduled, with more to come in the coming days. Earlier this week, British Airways operated three Boeing 777s to Havana to rescue stranded cruise ship passengers.
While airlines such as Ryanair are saying that they may be forced to ground all flights, for the time being, it seems as though Lufthansa will keep trying to offer flights as long as it can. After all, while demand is incredibly low, there is still a need for some to travel.
Were you due to fly with Lufthansa soon? Are you still flying with Lufthansa? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.