Coronavirus: Lufthansa cuts 7,100 flights

Lufthansa Group is cutting capacity by up to a quarter with more than 7,000 flights cancelled until the end of March.

The cuts are being made due to the “exceptional circumstances caused by the spread of coronavirus and the decline in demand”.

The route cancellations and frequency adjustments amount to the equivalent capacity of 150 aircraft, of which 125 are short- and medium-haul and are 25 long-haul.

The Lufthansa Group fleet currently comprises around 770 aircraft, including some 180 long-haul aircraft.

Lufthansa is cancelling about 7,100 flights this month, including 3,750 from Frankfurt to 75 airports and 3,350 flights from Munich to 65 airports.

The main focus is on domestic flights from the Frankfurt hub to Berlin, Munich and Hamburg as well as from Munich to Berlin, Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Bremen and Hanover.

A second focus is on Italy, including Milan, Venice, Rome, Turin, Verona, Bologna, Ancona and Pisa.

The company said: “When cancelling routes, Lufthansa has taken into account the fact that all European destinations will continue to be serviced, so that in most cases customers can be offered a suitable alternative.”

The airline previously suspended flights from Germany to mainland China until April 24 and to Tehran until April 30.

Flights to Tel Aviv and Eilat are being cancelled for three weeks from Sunday for “economic and operational reasons” following a clampdown on travel by Israeli authorities on travellers from Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

Lufthansa is also reducing frequencies to and from Hong Kong and Seoul, among others.

Further cost-cutting measures are being made in the areas of personnel, materials and project budgets.

“It is not yet possible to estimate the impact on earnings expected from current developments,” Lufthansa said.

Meanwhile, Lufthansa Group airlines will waive the rebooking fee on all new tickets purchased from today and up until March 31.

A one-time rebooking option – regardless of condition of the original booking fare purchased – will be permitted and passengers able to rebook to a new travel date until the end of the year.

The new waiver policy for existing bookings also applies worldwide for tickets purchased before March 5 and with a travel date up to April 30.

Passengers can now rebook to a new date up to December 31, without a rebooking fee.

“With this new waiver policy, the Lufthansa Group airlines are responding to the wish of many customers to help make their travel plans more flexible under the exceptional circumstances caused by the spread of Covid-19,” the company said.

The group is due to publish key financial figures at its annual financial results press conference on March 19.

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