Citing unprecedented cancellations and anemic new bookings, Lufthansa is considering grounding its entire A380 fleet as it explores a massive cutback in flights.
Coronavirus concerns have prompted thousands of passengers to cancel or postpone travel. The problem is so serious that Lufthansa may cut flights by up to 50%, including on Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, and SWISS. It is also considering grounding its entire A380 fleet on a temporary basis. A press release warns:
Depending on the further development of demand, capacity is to be reduced by up to 50 percent in the coming weeks. These capacity adjustments apply to all passenger airlines in the Lufthansa Group.
In addition, the extent to which the entire Airbus A380 fleet (14 aircraft) can be temporarily taken out of service in Frankfurt and Munich is currently being examined.
Lufthansa claims “this measure is designed to reduce the financial consequences of the slump in demand.” This comes on top of a Lufthansa’s hiring freeze and suspension of several projects. Lufthansa is also encouraging its employees to take voluntary level and working on a part-time program that would avoid job cuts (and the union protests that would likely accompany them).
With demand all but dried up and planes going out mostly empty, it is not surprising Lufthansa may ground its superjumbo jet. In the days ahead, we will see just how drastic Lufthansa’s actions will be.