Lufthansa CEO puts focus on 38 wet lease planes in Air Berlin battle

A final decision on who will buy Germany’s insolvent airline Air Berlin will taken on September 25. (Reuters)
Updated 21 September 2017
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Lufthansa CEO puts focus on 38 wet lease planes in Air Berlin battle

FRANKFURT: Lufthansa’s bid for Air Berlin assets is focused on securing the 38 crewed planes it currently leases from the insolvent carrier and it is interested in a further 20 to 40 planes, Lufthansa’s chief executive said.
Those 38 planes currently carry about 1,000 passengers a day, mainly for the group’s budget unit Eurowings, and Lufthansa’s priority is on keeping that operation stable, Carsten Spohr said at a media event late on Wednesday.
Eurowings was hit last week, when Air Berlin pilots called in sick in unusually high numbers, forcing the cancelation of flights.
Spohr said Lufthansa also expected it could grow its short-haul operations by another 20 to 40 planes without falling foul of anti-trust concerns due to the expected exit of Air Berlin from the market.
“The next few days will show whether that growth comes organically via Eurowings or through an Air Berlin transaction,” he said, adding that Lufthansa would need around 3,000 new employees as it seeks to build on its market share following the exit of Air Berlin.
Lufthansa is however not interested in Air Berlin’s long-haul routes however, with Spohr saying the flagship carrier could grow in that area on its own.
After announcing plans to start Eurowings long-haul routes from Duesseldorf this winter, following Air Berlin’s retreat there, the budget unit also intends to offer long-haul flights from Berlin Tegel airport next year, albeit starting with just one route.
Spohr also said business so far in 2017 was proving significantly better than the last two years, both of which were record years in terms of financial results.
He added that Lufthansa was sticking with a goal of reducing its unit costs this year and said it hoped to sign a wide-ranging deal on pay and conditions with its pilots this month.


China cuts Air China’s flight hours, launches safety review after incident

Updated 24 min 3 sec ago
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China cuts Air China’s flight hours, launches safety review after incident

  • An Air China Boeing 737 aircraft was flying to the Chinese city of Dalian from Hong Kong on July 10 when it dropped to 10,000 feet (3,048 m), with oxygen masks deployed

SHANGHAI: China’s aviation regulator will cut Air China’s flight hours for its Boeing 737 fleet by 10 percent and cancel the licenses for the pilot and co-pilot involved in an emergency descent incident last week, Chinese state television said.
The regulators also would launch a safety crackdown on Air China for three months and fine the airline 50,000 yuan ($7,460), China Central Television said on its WeChat account.
An Air China Boeing 737 aircraft was flying to the Chinese city of Dalian from Hong Kong on July 10 when it dropped to 10,000 feet (3,048 m), with oxygen masks deployed. Then it climbed again to continue to its destination.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China said the incident was linked to a co-pilot smoking an e-cigarette during the flight. ($1 = 6.7018 Chinese yuan renminbi)