Lufthansa to cut up to 50% flights, oust Airbus A380s
Lufthansa Group has changed its previous estimations on coronavirus impact to its network. The group now expects it might need to cut up to 50% of its flight capacity and is considering taking out of service its entire fleet of Airbus A380 for the time being.
“[…] The extent to which the entire Airbus A380 fleet (14 aircraft) can be temporarily taken out of service in Frankfurt and Munich is currently being examined,” Lufthansa group has announced in a statement on March 6, 2020.
The company was previously planning to operate its Airbus A380 aircraft fleet for the upcoming two to three years, before phasing out (selling and delivering back to Airbus) the first six superjumbos in 2022-2023, as announced in March 2019.
The (temporary) A380 fleet grounding and capacity cuts are coming amid the growing concerns of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak and its economic consequences. Lufthansa Group has witnessed a “drastic” decline in bookings, inasmuch as it is preparing to cut off up to 50% of its capacity in the coming weeks, depending on the further development of demand.
The announcement came a day after Lufthansa group airlines, namely Lufthansa, SWISS and Austrian Airlines, revealed cutting all flights to Israel for the remainder of the winter season. The decision followed Israel authorities’ refusal to allow Germany, Switzerland and Austrian citizens to enter the country due to coronavirus concerns.
At that time, March 5, Lufthansa group was planning capacity cuts of up to 25%. “The route cancellations and frequency adjustments correspond to a calculated capacity of 150 aircraft, of which 125 are short- and medium-haul and 25 are long haul,” the company’s statement read.
Reluctant to estimate a possible impact on earnings, the company is currently undertaking various saving measures, affecting personnel, material costs, project budgets and other liquidity measures.