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Lufthansa Plans to Cut In-Flight Services

In an effort to cut costs, Germany's national carrier plans to reduce its cabin crew on long-haul flights by one member, but workforce representatives are complaining.

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The airline Deutsche Lufthansa AG plans to cut its in-flight services in an effort to become more competitive internationally, Handelsblatt has learned.

With effect from July 1, Germany's national carrier plans to reduce its cabin crew on long-haul flights by one member – a move that will enable it to cut its total cabin staff by 500-600 from its current level of 12,000, although the group has stressed that none of the existing jobs are to go.

Details of the move, which is part of Lufthansa's D-Check cost-cutting program and is expected to enable the company to make savings of 30-40 million euros, are set out in a letter from workforce representatives, which Handelsblatt has seen.

The reduction in the size of cabin crews will be made possible by a new service concept involving the use of a single trolley for the distribution of in-flight food and drink among flight-guests. At present, one trolley is used for food, and a separate trolley for drinks.

The new service concept is to undergo a trial run in March. If it proves successful, the airline will go ahead with its plans to cut the cabin crews.

In the letter, the workforce representatives are highly critical of the plans, which envisage a six-member cabin crew. In other words, it will be possible under the plans for six people to serve the 310 passengers that a Boeing 747 can hold. This would produce the lowest ratio of staff to passengers in the world, they argue.

The trade union that represents German cabin personnel has voiced strong opposition to the plans, which it plans to discuss with the Lufthansa management before the end of this week.

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