Lufthansa expects the airline crisis will not end this year | News | DW
German airline Lufthansa said it does not expect flight operations to return to normal until next year.
“Unfortunately, we can hardly realistically achieve a short-term improvement now this summer,” Lufthansa board member Detlef Kayser told Saturday’s edition of Die Welt newspaper.
“We expect the situation to return to normal by 2023,” he added.
The company believes that reducing the number of flights is the only solution at the moment and said it was canceling more than 2,000 additional flights at its Frankfurt and Munich hubs due to staff shortages.
The announcement comes two weeks after announcing that it would cancel 900 connections in July.
Lufthansa’s low-cost subsidiary Eurowings is also expected to cancel flights.
Why are airlines facing staff shortages?
However, Lufthansa and Eurowings plan to largely avoid drastically reducing the number of flights to classic holiday destinations.
Instead, flights within Germany and Europe where there are alternative travel options, such as the train, are to be scrapped.
The civil aviation industry has had a difficult few years since the onset of the COVID pandemic, which led to massive travel restrictions around the world.
The number of passengers fell by 60% in 2020, and in 2021 it was still down by 50%. Airlines have lost nearly 200 billion dollars (189 billion euros) in two years.
The battered sector was forced to lay off thousands of workers during the worst crisis in its history. It is now scrambling to hire more workers as demand recovers – but recruitment has been inadequate.
How does inflation hurt businesses and travellers?
It was clear early on that staffing shortages would be a problem in the civil aviation industry, Kayser told the newspaper.
He pointed out that Frankfurt Airport, for example, had invested heavily in recruitment, but acknowledged that it was not possible to hire the necessary staff as quickly as he had hoped.
Although demand is recovering, there are growing fears that it may weaken again due to high inflation, which is also increasing airline operational costs, in the form of increased jet fuel, which accounts for around 25-30% of airline spend.
If airlines decide to pass on higher costs to travelers to preserve profits – at a time when price increases are already eroding people’s purchasing power – it could deter many from embarking on expensive air travel , which will again harm the companies.
sri/fb (dpa, Reuters, AFP)