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AFP
March 28, 2020

Lufthansa puts 31,000 on shorter hours until Sept

World

AFP
March 28, 2020

FRANKFURT AM MAIN: German airline giant Lufthansa said Friday it would apply for government aid to place 31,000 workers on shorter hours until September, with carriers worldwide among the companies hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis.

The group "has applied for shorter hours for cabin and ground crew until 31 August" at its flagship airline, spokesman Joerg Waber told AFP. "A solution is on the way for cockpit crew," he added.

Thirty-one thousand workers represent almost one in four staff at the wider Lufthansa group, which also includes carriers Austrian and Brussels Airlines, Eurowings and Swiss. Some 700 of Lufthansa's 763 aircraft are "temporarily parked" following massive reductions in its flight operations over the coming weeks.

Chief executive Carsten Spohr last week warned that "the longer this crisis lasts, the more likely it is that the future of aviation cannot be guaranteed without state aid". The group's flight plan has been slashed back to levels not seen since the 1950s, Spohr said.

Around the world, the International Air Transport Association has said up to $200 billion could be needed to rescue airlines. Known in German as "Kurzarbeit", Berlin's support for people placed on shorter hours tops up workers' pay from government coffers.

The scheme is widely credited with preserving thousands of jobs during the financial crisis in the late 2000s. Berlin extended access to the scheme as the coronavirus reached Europe's top economy, allowing companies to apply for support when a threshold of 10 percent of workers is affected, rather than 33 percent as before.—