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Lufthansa accepts terms of EU-Germany rescue deal

June 1, 2020

German airline Lufthansa has accepted the conditions of a bail-out deal agreed by the EU and Germany last week. The deal will see Lufthansa give up take-off and landing slots and aircraft to other airlines.

Aircraft of the German carrier Lufthansa are parked on the tarmac
Image: Reuters/R. Orlowski

Lufthansa's supervisory board said on Monday it had accepted an agreement reached with Germany and the European Union to rescue the struggling German airline.

Negotiations went on all of last week and a pact was agreed late on Friday night. The decision still has to officially be ratified at a general meeting of the group on June 25.

"There is a difficult path ahead for Lufthansa," said board chairman Karl-Ludwig Kley.

The Lufthansa group, which includes Brussels, Austrian and Swiss Airlines, has been losing around €1 million ($1.1 million) every hour since the coronavirus pandemic hit Europe, with 90% of its fleet grounded and travel bans still in place across much of the continent.

"Together with the German federal government, it must be our goal to maintain our leading position in global air transport," said Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr. He also offered gratitude to Lufthansa customers, employees, and shareholders.

Part of the deal involves ceding take-off and landing rights to competitors at major hubs in Frankfurt and Munich, as well as giving up aircraft to competitors.

The €9 billion rescue package sees the German government take over 20% of shares in the airline. The deal makes the German government the company's biggest shareholder. 

'Compromise' deal

Lufthansa previously said it would be unable to approve the rescue package over fears that the conditions imposed by the EU would be too harsh. The new deal was described as a "compromise" between the wishes of Germany, the EU and the airline.

Read more: Opinion — Lufthansa bailout shows Germany has learned nothing from the pandemic

The German government said that Lufthansa was profitable before the pandemic, but some have criticized Berlin's decision to bail out the group.

The deal between Berlin and Brussels took so long to hash out because German Chancellor Angela Merkel was keen to minimize federal control of the group.

The Lufthansa bailout is the biggest by the German government in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

ed/rc (AFP, dpa)