• Joe Breitfeller

SWISS Celebrates Inaugural Flight to Osaka; Lufthansa Group Adopts Austerity Measures

Swiss International Airlines celebrated their inaugural flight to Osaka on Sunday. Earlier this week, the Lufthansa Group announced the adoption of a package of measures due to the reduced demand environment.

SWISS Flight LX158 (Airbus A340-300) Departs Zurich for Osaka - Courtesy Swiss International Air Lines

On Sunday, Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) announced their inaugural flight from Zurich to Osaka, Japan. The first eastbound flight (LX158), an Airbus A340-300, departed Zurich at 13:12 CET. The carrier will serve Osaka from Zurich five times weekly, complementing their existing Zurich-Tokyo flights, strengthening their presence in the Japanese market.

In a series of press releases earlier this week, the Lufthansa Group announced a package of austerity measures the company is taking due to the current reduced-demand environment. On Wednesday (February 26th), the Lufthansa Group announced that they will reduce their administrative budget, offer unpaid leave for employees, expand options for part-time work and temporarily suspend new recruitment. The Group is taking these measures at an early stage to help counteract the economic impact of the reduced air travel environment associated with COVID-19 uncertainty.

The status of planned new hires will be reassessed, suspended or deferred to a later date, while all planned flight attendant and station personnel training scheduled for April 2020 have been cancelled. Employees currently in training programs won’t be hired but may be offered employment contracts in the future.

In the area of company administration, Lufthansa will cut project volume by 10 percent and reduce the material costs budget by 20 percent. The Lufthansa Group has already cancelled Lufthansa, SWISS and Austrian Airlines flights to/from mainland China until March 28, 2020. Capacity adjustments have also been made on Hong Kong routes to/from Frankfurt, Munich and Zurich. In a separate press release on Friday, the Lufthansa Group further announced a short-haul capacity reduction of up to 25 percent over the next few weeks. The number of grounded Group long-haul aircraft was also increased from 13 announced on Wednesday to 23. The Group is also examining the possibility of reducing working hours for some team members and reiterated that the financial impact of situation cannot be estimated at this time. The Lufthansa Group will comment further on the matter when they hold a press briefing for financial results on March 19, 2020.

Lufthansa Group carrier Brussels Airlines also announced that they will be taking measures to mitigate the financial impact of reduced demand. The carrier has cut capacity to/from Northern Italy by 30 percent between March 2, and March 14, 2020. The impacted routes include flights to Milan (Linate and Malpensa), Rome, Venice and Bologna.

Source(s): Lufthansa Group, SWISS, Brussels Airlines

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