German airline Lufthansa plans to cut 22,000 jobs


Lufthansa aircraft parked at Frankfurt Airport Image copyright DeFodi Images / Getty Images

German airline Lufthansa has said it will cut 22,000 jobs as it struggles to deal with the slump in air travel caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The carrier predicted a slow recovery in demand and expected to have about 100 fewer aircraft after the crisis.

Lufthansa said half the job cuts would be in Germany. It hopes to agree the measures with unions by 22 June.

It added that it hoped to minimise redundancies through short-time working and crisis agreements.

“The aim is to pave the way for the preservation of as many jobs as possible in the Lufthansa Group,” the company said.

The airline employs more than 135,000 people worldwide. About half of them are in Germany.

Lufthansa labour director Michael Niggemann said: “Without a significant reduction in personnel costs during the crisis, we will miss the opportunity of a better restart from the crisis and risk that the Lufthansa Group will emerge from the crisis significantly weakened.”

Struggling sector

Last month, Lufthansa agreed a rescue deal worth €9bn (£8bn) with the German government to save it from collapse.

The German government will take a 20% stake in the firm, which it intends to sell by the end of 2023.

However, the deal still has to be approved by the firm’s shareholders and the European Commission.

The company closed its budget airline Germanwings in April.

Other airlines are implementing similar measures in anticipation of a long, slow return to former levels of demand. Job cuts announced so far include:

  • British Airways is proposing to make 12,000 of its 45,000 staff redundant, with more than 1,000 pilot roles at risk
  • Ryanair is set to shed 3,000 jobs – 15% of its workforce – with boss Michael O’Leary saying the planned cuts are “the minimum that we need just to survive the next 12 months”
  • EasyJet has said it will cut up to 30% of its workforce – about 4,500 jobs
  • And Virgin Atlantic, which employs 10,000 people, has said it will cut 3,000 jobs.