Lufthansa grounds Germanwings subsidiary, retires some A380s and 747s in coronavirus restructuring

Apr 7, 2020

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Another airline has seen the end of its days as a result of the coronavirus crisis. On Tuesday, Lufthansa Group announced that Germanwings, its low-cost subsidiary, would cease operations.

In the group’s first restructuring package unveiled on Tuesday, it said that it would ground Germanwings operations as part of a broader overhaul that would also see operations cut across other parts of the business. The group said that the decision was part of its evaluation that the post-coronavirus recovery would take years.

“The Executive Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG does not expect the aviation industry to return to pre-coronavirus crisis levels very quickly,” Lufthansa Group said in a statement. “According to its assessment, it will take months until the global travel restrictions are completely lifted and years until the worldwide demand for air travel returns to pre-crisis levels.”

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Germanwings had a fleet of 15 A319 aircraft, according to Most recently, Germanwings operated under the Eurowings umbrella on some of its short-haul flights.

In addition to grounding Germanwings operations, Lufthansa Group said 18 Lufthansa aircraft would be permanently retired. That group of aircraft includes six Airbus A380s, which it had already planned to sell back to Airbus, seven A340-600s and five 747-400s. In addition, it’s taking 11 of its short-haul A320s out of operation.

With that decision, Lufthansa also will be reducing capacity at its hubs in Frankfurt and Munich.

Lufthansa CityLine is withdrawing three A340-300s from service, and Eurowings is phasing out 10 of its A320s.

“Germanwings flight operations will be discontinued. All options resulting from this are to be discussed with the respective unions,” the company said in a statement.

Airlines around the world have struggled to cope with the ongoing effects of the coronavirus crisis. In early March, regional U.K. airline Flybe ceased all operations and United affiliate Trans States Airlines ended service in April.
Featured photo by INA FASSBENDER/Getty Images.
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