German government, Lufthansa negotiating state aid for ailing airline

Germany’s flagship carrier Lufthansa is in negotiations with the government about possible state aid for the aviation giant which has been battered by massive cancellations, due to coronavirus outbreak.

Progress has been made in the talks and a decision should soon be made, government sources told DPA on Friday.

Lufthansa confirmed that negotiations were underway about different forms of state involvement in the corporation.

However, a spokesperson declined to provide details. Lufthansa operates airlines in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Belgium.

Its most significant asset is its Lufthansa core brand in Germany, which is responsible for nearly half of the corporation’s revenue. Lufthansa was fully privatized in 1997, while its chief executive, Carsten Spohr, ruled out a nationalization in an interview with the Spiegel news magazine.

He said that the focus of any state aid would be on retaining the company’s capacity to make decisions and act. The Lufthansa Group is currently only offering around five percent of its normal flights because so few people are flying due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Approximately 700 of its 760 airplanes are grounded. The corporation has announced that it is planning to reduce the working hours for around two-thirds of its employees around the world, amounting to 87,000 people. (NAN)

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