Lufthansa Cuts Schedule by 50% Over Coronavirus Setback
Lufthansa has slashed its capacity by up to 50% in the most aggressive move to date by a major European airline. The German company cited “drastic declines in bookings and numerous flight cancellations” in recent days, saying all of its traffic is now affected. The carrier’s board decided Friday to reduce capacity even more than it previously had planned, it said in a statement.
“This measure is intended to reduce the financial consequences of the slump in demand,” Lufthansa said. “It complements the planned savings measures in personnel, material costs and project budgets as well as other liquidity measures.”
Carriers across the globe have been cutting back on flights due to the coronavirus that has been spreading to new countries, with the number of cases surpassing 100,000. Airlines and hotels have taken a major hit and have had to scramble by cutting back on their schedules, offering waived cancellation fees and lower prices. Cathay cut its March schedule by 75%.
Lufthansa a week ago said it would extend capacity cuts beyond long-haul flights to and from China, initially the only routes affected, to also cover short-haul flights across Europe after the coronavirus spread to Italy, the group’s second most-important foreign market. That had already resulted in idled capacity translating into about 150 aircraft on the ground.