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A Lufthansa Airbus A350
Image: Imago/M. Aurich

Lufthansa offers 'return flight guarantee'

June 7, 2020

The CEO of Lufthansa has promised to bring home any German resident that it flies abroad this summer. The offer comes after tens of thousands of people were stranded abroad when the coronavirus outbreak hit.


Lufthansa is introducing a "homecoming guarantee" for any German resident it flies abroad, the air carrier's CEO said in an interview published Sunday. 

On Wednesday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas had announced that Germany would not carry out repatriation flights this summer, as it did at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak earlier this year when travel restrictions left thousands of people stranded abroad. 

Many are concerned about booking summer vacations abroad, afraid that a coronavirus outbreak in their destination country could prevent them from returning home. 

"We are aware of this (concern), which is why we are introducing a homecoming guarantee. Whoever wants to return to Germany, we will bring back," Lufthansa Chief Executive Carsten Spohr told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung

"Be it because they are not allowed to enter the country due to an elevated temperature at their destination, or because they have to be quarantined there, or because of a virus outbreak in the host country — in all these cases there will be a guaranteed return flight," he said. 

Read more: Berlin's new airport is finally set to open, its future is up in the air

Bailout looms large

The company is hoping that private plan travel will have a quick return to pre-coronavirus levels.

"We're expecting a high demand from private travelers by autumn at the latest," Spohr said. 

Germany's flagship airline is in the middle of a comprehensive restructuring, including the loss of 10,000 jobs, as it considers how to pay back a €9 billion ($10.2 billion) bailout from the German government, prompted by deep losses recorded as a result of the coronavirus crisis. 

Spohr said the company aims to pay back everything by 2023. 

"It has to be our goal that the taxpayer gets his money back as quickly as possible," he said.

kp/mm (AFP, Reuters)

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