Lufthansa braces for ‘challenging’ winter on EUR2B loss

FRANKFURT AM MAIN (AFP) – German flag carrier Lufthansa yesterday posted a third quarter net loss of EUR2.0 billion as it prepares for a “hard and challenging” winter amid lockdowns to curb the coronavirus pandemic.

Europe’s largest airline said it will fly a maximum of 25 per cent of normal capacity from October to December and expects to burn through EUR350 million in cash a month.

“We are now at the beginning of a winter that will be hard and challenging for our industry,” Chief Executive Carsten Spohr said in a statement.

After its revenues crashed in the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the airline was propped up in June by the German state which pumped in EUR9 billion of liquidity for a 25 per cent stake.

But the return of restrictions on movement in its home territory of Germany, alongside even stricter lockdowns in countries such as France and Britain, has “significantly worsened” the outlook for air travel, Lufthansa said.

CEO Spohr urged the introduction of “widespread rapid tests” for the virus, in order to reduce the need for lengthy quarantines which airlines said are deterring travellers.