Lufthansa Incentivising Early Retirement For A380 Crews

With the significant downturn in aviation over the past year and a half, many airlines have had to adjust their operations to suit the lower levels of demand. To ease the pain of workforce cuts, Lufthansa is said to be offering an early retirement program for pilots nearing the age of retirement. However, for the airline’s A380 pilots, a special bonus is being offered, giving us further indication that the type will never again fly for the German carrier.

Lufthansa a380
Most of Lufthansa’s A380 fleet has already been sent to long-term storage at Teruel. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Lufthansa encouraging early retirement for pilots

In an internal memo seen by Aero.de, Lufthansa is incentivizing its older pilots to retire early, ahead of Germany’s mandatory retirement age of 67 (recently moved up from 65). Interestingly, 10 years ago, Lufthansa mandated that its pilots had to retire at 60. This was, however, taken to court and defeated.

Aero.de points out that around 850 pilots aged 55 and over are eligible for Lufthansa’s voluntary program, with A380 crews receiving a special bonus to retire early. Under the airline’s “Freiwilligenprogramm Cockpit,” or “Cockpit Volunteer Program,” Lufthansa will issue one-off payments for 135-400 pilots.

Pilots who are eligible for this program can apply until July 30th, 2021.

Lufthansa a380
Just one Airbus A380 remains parked at Frankfurt airport. The rest have been sent to Teruel. Photo: Melv_L-MACASR via Wikimedia Commons 

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A special bonus offered to A380 crews

Payouts reportedly begin at 32,000 euros ($38,000) for those born in 1958 and go up to as much as 240,000 euros (over $285,000) for pilots born in 1967. Lufthansa has earmarked an initial 24 million euros ($28.5 million) for the program.

The internal memo also states that pilots “of the Airbus A380 type that will no longer be used by Lufthansa” will receive a special bonus of 35,000 euros ($41,500).

Lufthansa a380
Lufthansa operated 14 Airbus A380s before the global health crisis. The carrier still operates the Boeing 747. Photo: Bill Larkins via Wikimedia Commons 

The A380’s end at Lufthansa

While it’s already clear that Lufthansa will not return the A380 to service in the future, this news is further confirmation of what we already know.

Of the 14 A380s once operated by Lufthansa, 11 have been sent to Tarmac Aerosave’s facility in Teruel (Spain), while two are located in Tarbes (France). With the relocation of the A380 registered D-AIMM in June, one lone A380, registered as D-AIMH, is expected to remain in Frankfurt until September. Thus, it seems that this one remaining aircraft’s journey to long-term storage is inevitable.

Six aircraft had already been sold to Airbus as part of a pre-pandemic plan to reduce its superjumbo fleet size. When asked about this move back in March 2019, the airline told Simple Flying that ‘profitability [with the A380] is only possible on the most high-demand routes’.

What do you think of the added financial incentive for Lufthansa’s A380 crews to retire early? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment.

Simple Flying has reached out to Lufthansa for comment on the issue. However, at the time of publication, no response was received from the airline.

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