Lufthansa has warned that it could cancel up to 25% of its short-haul flights. The exact number of flights that the airline will cancel isn’t yet known and will depend on how the coronavirus situation develops.
The coronavirus epidemic is slowly gaining traction within Europe. In fact, in Italy alone there are already 650 confirmed cases of coronavirus. This dwarfs Germany which has the second-highest number of cases, standing at 46. This is according to the latest data from the World Health Organization.
As airlines continue to deal with a fall in demand and try to contain the situation, Lufthansa has now announced it too will take action.
Up to 1/4 of flights canceled
The Lufthansa Group today announced that it could reduce the number of short- and medium-haul flights by up to 25%. In a statement sent to Simple Flying, the German airline group said:
“Within the coming weeks, the number of short- and medium-haul flights will be reduced by up to 25 percent, depending on the further development of the spread of the coronavirus.”
It appears that the airline group is yet to determine exactly which flights would be canceled. However, the news follows similar announcements from other airlines across Europe and further afield.
Why is the Lufthansa Group looking to cancel flights?
The Lufthansa Group attributed today’s announcement to tackling the economic fall-out caused by the Coronavirus outbreak. The airline group stated: “As a result of the current situation caused by the accelerated spread of the coronavirus, the Lufthansa Group has decided on taking further measures to counteract the economic consequences.”
Earlier the group had announced that 13 aircraft were effectively grounded as a result of flight suspensions to China. While no aircraft were actually grounded, the capacity of 13 aircraft was not being used. The group said that this will likely increase to 23, and as a result, they may look at reducing working hours.
What’s happening elsewhere?
The Lufthansa group isn’t the only aviation-related business to be suffering as a result of the virus epidemic. In fact, earlier today Fraport, which runs the airport where Lufthansa is based, is looking to cut costs according to Reuters.
Other airlines have also had to cut flights as well. Yesterday Simple Flying reported that low-cost carrier Wizz Air was cutting its capacity to Italy by 60%. Additionally, earlier today we reported that another European low-cost carrier, easyJet, was looking to reduce frequency on some routes due to the situation.
Of course, all of these measures depend on how the epidemic continues. It is possible that cancellations could be extended further in the future if the virus gets far worse, cutting demand further.
What do you make of these latest statements by the Lufthansa Group, or how the industry is reacting as a whole? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.