Last Update: at 11:23

Summer of corona

Lufthansa and Swiss see weak demand for long-haul flights

Lufthansa intends to repay the state aid within three years. Group CEO Carsten Spohr explains that in order to do this they will take on new debts. And he gave details about the booking situation.

Tis Meyer/

Lufthansa Airbus A330: Long-haul sees weak demand.

Lufthansa Group intends to act more cautiously in the future. «Certainly we will be more conservative with our financial planning than before», says Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr in an interview with Neue Zürcher Zeitung. However, he went on to say that it ist hardly possible to prepare for a blow to the extent like the corona crisis. After all, the business had been «99 percent down for months». One could not create such buffers.

That’s why government aid was needed. The entire volume of nine billion euros was needed, said Spohr. «The first billion has just arrived». The money from Switzerland for Swiss, on the other hand, has not yet been spent.

Paying back state aid and getting into debt

By 2023, Lufthansa wants to have repaid the state aid – probably also because of the associated conditions that come along with it. However, this will not make the company debt-free, said Spohr. «We want to take out loans on the market in order to repay the taxpayers’ money in Switzerland, Germany and Austria. We would rather be indebted to the capital market than to the taxpayer.»

In terms of bookings, Spohr said there was no clear picture «Both Lufthansa and Swiss are above expectations on continental routes and below expectations on intercontinental routes», he told the Neue Zürcher Zeitung. The USA, for which «half of our long-haul aircraft alone» have been planned, also posed problems. It is hoped that traffic to the United States will begin to normalise again from September onwards.

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