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Lufthansa Suspends New Hires, Offers Unpaid Leave to Limit Coronavirus Impact

A Lufthansa Airbus A350-900 XWB departing from Munich. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Fabian Behr)

Over the last few weeks, airlines across the world have axed capacity to China as a response to limit the Coronavirus outbreak to other regions of the globe. With a significant hike in the number of cases in Italy and subsequently across Europe and the Middle East this week, airlines are in a tough position as to how to manage capacity over the near future.

Lufthansa is the first European carrier to take measures, offering pilots and cabin crew unpaid leave and suspending the hire of new employees in the short term. 

In this way, the airline is suspending hiring completion for new hires, with employment deferred to a later day. This includes personnel currently undergoing training, where courses will be suspended as of April 1. Lufthansa assures this is a short-term measure and that these employees will be employed in the longer term. 

Additionally, Lufthansa is also offering employees unpaid leave effective immediately as the airline faces capacity shortages. At the same time, the Frankfurt-based carrier is examining the expansion of part-time work options in the context of collaborative bargaining. 

The Lufthansa Group, including Swiss and Austrian airlines. has suspended flights to Mainland China until March 28, while adjusting capacity to Hong Kong. According to its estimation, network reductions account as to having 13 aircraft grounded across the group.

Though the airline cannot estimate the financial impact of the virus on its balance sheets, it presumably expects additional capacity reductions which call for additional measures, as the number of Coronavirus cases exceeds 80,000 globally with South Korea, Japan, Iran and Italy being the most affected outside China. Italy has recorded more than 300 cases with most concentrated around Milan. 

Jose Antonio Payet
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  • Jose Antonio Payet

    As a geography nerd, Jose has always been fascinated by the complexities of the airline industry and its ability to bring the world closer together. Born and raised in Peru, now studying in the UK. he has travelled around America, Europe and South East Asia. His favorite aircraft is the Boeing 767-300, which he has flown many times during his childhood; although now the A350 is slowly growing up on him.

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