LONDON – German carrier Lufthansa has told German media that it will cut 33,000 flights due to the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
CEO Carsten Spohr told Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung that from mid-January to February, there is a sharp downturn in bookings.
The 33,000 figure represents 10% of the total flight network for that period.
Spohr even conceded that he would have axed more flights if it didn’t have to comply with European Union law about airport slots:
“We have to operate 18,000 additional, unnecessary flights in the winter just to secure our take-off and landing rights,” he said.
“While climate-friendly exemptions have been found in almost every other part of the world during the pandemic, the EU does not allow it in the same way”.
Lufthansa as a whole has been feeling considerable pain due to the lack of passengers within the respective subsidiaries of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Belgium.
This move does not come as a surprise as Ryanair announced yesterday that it would be cutting around 33% of its January capacity due to the variant taking a grip across Europe.
It will be interesting to see how much of a loss this will place on Lufthansa, especially by operating close-to-empty flights just to keep a hold of landing slots.