Tui begins talks to halve German airline fleet

Tui aims to halve the size of its German carrier Tuifly and wants a speedy conclusion to negotiations on the downsizing as it consolidates its carriers across Europe.

The Tui Group unveiled plans on Thursday to reduce its German airline fleet of 39 aircraft and merge its five European carriers under one company based in Hanover.

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The central functions of the group’s airlines – Tui Airways in the UK and Tuifly Germany, Belgium, Netherlands and Nordic – will be more closely integrated.

However, the company will guarantee jobs at the German carrier until the end of 2021 in line with an employment protection scheme in place at Tui’s German companies since last year.

The announcement on the airline restructuring followed a supervisory board meeting on Thursday

Tui said Tuifly’s main bases at Hannover and Dusseldorf would remain open and the carrier would retain operations at Frankfurt, Munich and Stuttgart airports.

Oliver Lackmann, managing director of Tuifly Germany, said: “These are major changes and cutbacks for our employees and for the company.

“Nobody takes the decision lightly, but the Tuifly fleet is too large for the customer base of our German tour operator.

“We must reduce this fleet and work more closely together within the five airlines of the group. Otherwise we will further increase our competitive disadvantage.”

Lackmann said: “Even before the corona pandemic, the German airline market was characterised by considerable overcapacity and fierce price competition.

“The corona pandemic has led to severe disruptions in the airline sector, especially for holiday flyers.”

But he said: “Even before corona, in the peak season the Tuifly fleet was not able to achieve a cost-covering occupancy rate.”

Lackmann noted that up to 14 aircraft and crew were formerly leased to Air Berlin, which filed for insolvency in 2017, and latterly to Lufthansa subsidiary Eurowings.

He said: “These were aircraft and seats which we as a tour operator were unable to fill with our own customers. The situation has now become even more difficult.”

Lackmann said: “We want to come to an agreement with the representatives of the workforce as quickly as possible.” But he insisted: “Our aim is to secure as many jobs as possible.”

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