Lufthansa extends Tehran flight suspensions

Frankfurt airport, Germany. Many airlines have suspended or adjusted services due to the coronavirus and the aviation industry expects heavy financial losses. (AP)
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Updated 03 March 2020

Lufthansa extends Tehran flight suspensions

  • German airline says it is too early to assess impact of virus outbreak on earnings

BERLIN: German airline group Lufthansa said on Monday that it was extending the suspension of flights to China until April 24, to Tehran until April 30 and reducing services to northern Italy due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The epidemic, which began in China and has killed almost 3,000 people worldwide, is disrupting flight demand and many airlines have suspended or adjusted services in response.

“After a thorough assessment of all currently available information on the coronavirus, Lufthansa Group has decided to continue to extend the suspension of flights between Germany, Switzerland, Austria and mainland China by Lufthansa, SWISS and Austrian Airlines until 24 April,” Lufthansa said.

It said that it was also suspending flights between Munich and Hong Kong between March 6 and April 24, with passengers to be put onto flights via Frankfurt and Zurich where possible. It said it was canceling some flights between Frankfurt and Munich to Seoul too.

Lufthansa Group airlines, which include Swiss and Austrian airlines, had already said on Friday that it would reduce the number of short- and medium-haul flights by up to 25 percent in the coming weeks depending on how coronavirus spreads.

On Monday Lufthansa provided details of its scheduling changes, including adjusting services to northern Italy, which hasbecome a flashpoint in the coronavirus outbreak.

It said that Austrian Airlines was slashing its flights to Italy in March and April by 40 percent while Lufthansa subsidiary Brussels Airlines is cutting flights to Rome, Milan, Venice and Bologna by 30 percent until March 14.

Swiss Airlines will probably also cut some services to parts of Italy until the end of April while Eurowings is reducing capacity to some Italian destinations until March 8.

Lufthansa said that it was too early to assess the impact on its earnings, which are due to be published on March 19.

The airline has already said that it would look into economic temporary measures such as a company-wide hiring freeze.


India to invest $1.46 trillion to lift virus-hit economy

Updated 15 August 2020

India to invest $1.46 trillion to lift virus-hit economy

  • Modi announced a national digital heath plan under which every Indian will get an identity card containing all health-related information
  • Modi said the government has identified 7,000 infrastructure projects to offset the economic impact of the pandemic
NEW DELHI: India’s prime minister said Saturday his country has done well in containing the coronavirus pandemic and announced $1.46 trillion infrastructure projects to boost the sagging economy.
The key lesson India learnt from the pandemic is to become self-reliant in manufacturing and developing itself as a key supply chain destination for international companies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.
“The coronavirus epidemic is a big crisis, but it can’t stall India’s economic progress,’’ Modi said in a speech from New Delhi’s 17th century Mughal-era Red Fort to mark 74 years of the country’s independence from British rule. He wore an orange and white turban with a long scarf around his neck.
He also said that three vaccines are in different phases of testing in India and it will start mass production as soon as it got a green light from scientists. “Detailed plans are in place for large-scale production of corona vaccine and making it available to every Indian,” he said.
India’s coronavirus death toll overtook Britain’s this week to become the fourth-highest in the world as the country reported over 2.5 million confirmed cases, just behind the US and Brazil.
Modi also announced a national digital heath plan under which every Indian will get an identity card containing all health-related information.
The celebrations were curtailed on Saturday because of the pandemic, with invitations going only to 4,000 guests instead of normal 20,000, media reports said.
The International Monetary Fund projected a contraction of 4.5 percent for the Indian economy in 2020, a “historic low,” but said the country is expected to bounce back in 2021.
Modi said the government has identified 7,000 infrastructure projects to offset the economic impact of the pandemic.
“Infrastructure will not be created in silos anymore. All infrastructure has to be comprehensive, integrated and linked to each other. Multi-modal connectivity infrastructure is the way forward,” he said.
He said that India saw a record 18 percent jump in foreign direct investment in the past year, a signal that the international companies are looking at the country.
Modi didn’t refer to China directly, but India is trying to capitalize on its rival’s rising production costs and deteriorating ties with the United States and European nations to become a replacement home for large multinationals.
Referring to border tensions with China in the Ladakh area, he said Indian forces had given a befitting response in the mountainous region where thousands of soldiers from the two countries remain in a tense standoff since May. India said 20 of its troops died in hand combat with Chinese troops on June 15.
“Whether it’s terrorism or expansionism, India is fighting the challenges bravely,” Modi said in apparent references to threats from neighboring Pakistan and China.