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Lufthansa can’t hire all its junior pilots

Around 160 young pilots are hoping for permanent employment with Lufthansa. But the airline has bad news for them.


Lufthansa training plane

Since Lufthansa issued a profit warning in June at the latest, the cutting of costs has been a priority within the Group. This also affects pilots who complete their training and then hope for a permanent position. Lufthansa Crew Training has stated this in a letter to its junior pilots, which has been seen by aeroTELEGRAPH and the content of which has been confirmed by the airline.

Currently, 160 junior pilots – internally referred to as NFF – are still waiting for a permanent employment contract with the airline Lufthansa, confirms a spokeswoman: «At present, there are no further training places available at Lufthansa for the 160 NFFs mentioned above – apart from the promises of employment already made. It has not yet been decided when it will be possible to offer training places again.»

Reference to Eurowings and Lufthansa Cargo

As a reason, the letter mentions «decisions, some of them very important» in the group. These include «the situation at LH Cargo» and adjustments within Eurowings. And the job cuts at Austrian Airlines are not helping either. «The integration of employees from Lufthansa Cargo, Eurowings and, if necessary, other flight operations, which will be necessary as a result of the forthcoming restructuring, will not allow training places to be made available for the time being.»

This may sound a bit complicated, but it simply means that Lufthansa is preparing itself to need fewer pilots at Eurowings, in the cargo division and at Austrian Airlines. The surplus cockpit crew members are then to be integrated into Lufthansa itself – and have priority over the junior pilots.

Restructuring going on

Lufthansa is restructuring Eurowings to make the low-cost subsidiary profitable. On behalf of its parent company, the airline will for the first time take off on long-haul tourist flights from Frankfurt. In addition, the closure of «smaller, unprofitable bases» is also planned, as is an increase in working days and flight hours for crews and, if necessary, staff reductions. At Lufthansa Cargo, the remaining ten McDonnell Douglas MD-11s will be phased out, while only two more Boeing 777 Fs will complement the current seven aircraft of this type. Austrian Airlines is cutting a total of 700 to 800 jobs – including those in the cockpit.

The 160 junior pilots that Lufthansa is now putting on the back burner are divided into two groups. Around 130 of them are already pilots on various airlines in the group. «About 30 of them are currently working in another profession or are completing or building up an academic qualification», explains the spokeswoman. There have also been similar situations in the past in which Lufthansa pilots have financed their training with a job as a flight attendant.

850 junior staff already taken on

Lufthansa explains that it regrets this situation and is in contact with those affected. «The aim is, in consultation with Lufthansa Group Airlines, to make it possible to continue to work, unless this is already regulated by an open-ended contract», the spokeswoman said. She also points out that from December 2017 to October 2019 Lufthansa took «the vast majority of the original 850 NFF» as a permanent pilot with Lufthansa.

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