A crisis meeting at the highest level is planned for a multibillion-dollar rescue package for Lufthansa, which has been badly hit by the Corona crisis, early next week.
As the German Press Agency learned on Saturday, Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU), Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD), Economy Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU), Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) and Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr want to negotiate state aid. Previously, the “Bild” newspaper had reported that such a top-level meeting was planned shortly.
The rescue package is worth between nine and ten billion euros, government sources said. However, there is still controversy in the Federal Government as to how the Federal Government will help Lufthansa and how much say the policy should have in the event of temporary state participation. In the government circles it was said that Lufthansa should not be dragged from all sides, the situation was already dramatic enough.
SPD Bundestag Group leader Rolf Mützenich rejects a silent participation of the federal government in Lufthansa. “If companies like Lufthansa receive billions of dollars in state aid from taxpayers’ money, they must also have a say for the federal government,” he told the Bild newspaper. “This is essential out of responsibility for the employees.” According to the report, Spohr wants the federal government to participate silently in the airline.
Lufthansa has been severely affected by the Corona crisis. The company said on Thursday that it could no longer save itself from the Corona crisis on its own. The operating loss of 1.2 billion euros in the first three months of the year will be followed by an even higher decline in the current quarter, the company announced. For the foreseeable future, the Group will no longer be able to meet the current capital requirements with further borrowings on the market.
During the Corona crisis, the Federal Government decided on a stabilization fund with which the state could participate in companies if necessary. However, the fund is not yet operational. The Federal Government is working on a legal regulation with precise criteria. The EU Commission must agree.
Lufthansa CEO Spohr has already prepared the airline’s employees for tough times. After the crisis, Lufthansa is expected to have a fleet of 100 aircraft smaller, the CEO said in an internal message to employees on Friday. This resulted in a mathematical overhang of 10,000 employees. “However, we will continue to do our utmost to keep as many employees on board as possible,” said Spohr.
Until now, Lufthansa had mentioned the number of 7,000 jobs that could be lost due to the crisis. Among other things, the operation of the company “Germanwings” is to be discontinued. Before the outbreak of the pandemic, Europe’s largest aviation group had around 130,000 employees and 760 aircraft worldwide. Even before the Corona crisis, the Group planned to sell the lSG Sky Chefs catering division with around 35,000 employees worldwide.