As global aviation continues to reel from the coronavirus, another giant has reacted. Lufthansa, which has already grounded most of its flights, will close its low-cost subsidiary, Germanwings, and retire some 43 aircraft, or about 6 percent of its total fleet. Those aircraft include 18 large airliners—including six Airbus A380s, seven A340s and five Boeing 747-400s—and 11 Airbus A320s will be retired. “The six A380s were already scheduled for sale to Airbus in 2022. The decision to phase out seven A340-600s and five Boeing 747-400s was taken based on the environmental as well as economic disadvantages of these aircraft types. With this decision, Lufthansa will be reducing capacity at its hubs in Frankfurt and Munich,” said the company.
In addition to closing Germanwings, Lufthansa will discontinue long-haul flights on another subsidiary, Eurowings, with a further 10 A320s to be phased out. Lufthansa said in a statement that it “does not expect the aviation industry to return to pre-coronavirus crisis levels very quickly. 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. The aim remains the same for all employees affected by the restructuring measures: to offer as many people as possible continued employment within the Lufthansa Group.”