Lufthansa shareholders debate airline′s savings plan | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 07.05.2013
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Lufthansa shareholders debate airline's savings plan

German flag carrier Lufthansa has confirmed it will stick to its cost-cutting program to enhance its profitability. A shareholder meeting in Cologne was overshadowed by a supervisor board candidacy farce.

Lufthansa executives told Tuesday's shareholder meeting the country's biggest airline would follow through its savings program announced last year and codenamed "Score."

The scheme aims to increase revenues and curtail spending not least by using a more fuel-efficient fleet and expanding the services of its low-budget subsidiary Germanwings.

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European airlines in trouble

Lufthansa plans to cut 3,500 jobs of a total workforce of 117,000 globally at present. Shareholders were told they would not be paid a dividend for 2012, while executives would have to put up with a 5 percent reduction of their basic salaries.

Zigzag course

Chief Executive Christoph Franz threw his weight behind his predecessor Wolfgang Mayrhuber, who was running for the post of supervisory board chief. "During his time at the helm of the company, he achieved an awful lot," Franz maintained. "Among other things, he managed the takeover of rivals Swiss and Austrian Airlines."

Many shareholders chose to disagree. They considered the acquisitions too costly, arguing that they'd put the carrier in a difficult situation. Most of all, however, they criticized the fact that Mayrhuber withdrew his candidacy on Monday morning, only to revise his decision 12 hours later.

"How could he change his opinion two times in such a short time span," Lufthansa shareholder Union Investment quipped. "That's already casting a dark shadow on his post."

hg/ (dpa, Reuters)

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