Lufthansa Group has outlined details on its plans to increase its flight schedule in June significantly, compared to the previous three, Coronavirus-hit months.
In April and the first two weeks of May, the airline group had operated an extremely minimised flight schedule, in addition to some repatriation and cargo-only services, in which a passenger aircraft was used to carry freight, often medical supplies.
The only scheduled long-haul flights during this period were operated by parent Lufthansa from its hub in Frankfurt, as well as Swiss from Zurich. Munich, Vienna and Brussels did not have long-haul services by the Lufthansa Group, apart from charted repatriation or cargo flights. Approximately 700 aircraft are temporarily grounded.
In late-April, Lufthansa said that its special flight schedule, in which it operated only a fraction of its normal network, would continue through May 31st. Now, the carrier has announced a number of routes on which it will to resume service over the coming weeks.
The three group airlines Lufthansa, Swiss and Eurowings will therefore serve at least 106 European destinations and more than 20 long-haul destinations by the end of June. Around 1,800 weekly roundtrips to 130 destinations would be offered by the end of the month, and 80 currently grounded aircraft are set to be reactivated, according to Lufthansa. These additional flights to its still severely reduced operations are bookable since Thursday.
However, the temporary suspension of all scheduled flights at its Vienna-based subsidiary Austrian Airlines has been extended to June 7th. The airline was initially aiming to resume regular operations on June 1st. “A resumption of service in June is being considered“, the group says.
Brussels Airlines, which stopped scheduled flying on March 21st, plans to resume limited flights on June 15th.
Passengers are required to wear face masks on board all Lufthansa Group flights. Furthermore, catering has been reduced and additional health and safety measures may be applied, depending on the destination and local restrictions.
Airlines around the world do not expect demand to return to pre-Coronavirus levels for at least two or three years. To handle the longer-term effects of the crisis, Lufthansa Group airlines are set to retire a number of older aircraft.
The German flag-carrier Lufthansa is permanently retiring at least eleven Airbus A320, three A340-300, seven A340-600 (ten more have been put into storage), five Boeing 747-400 and six or seven Airbus A380.
Its subsidiaries are also removing aircraft from their fleets. Austrian is getting rid of its Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 turboprops, Airbus A319 and half of its Boeing 767. Eurowings is retiring several A320, in addition to its sister company and wet-lease partner Germanwings completely shutting down.
Jakob Wert is an aviation journalist from Germany. He built up the website IFN.news and is the Editor-In-Chief of International Flight Network.