Lufthansa further slashes flight plan over virus

Agence France-Presse
Lufthansa flights to and from mainland China are suspended until April 24, while its Iran flights are suspended until April 30

LUFTHANSA. Check-in desks of German airline Lufthansa are seen at the airport in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, on November 7, 2019. File photo by Silas Stein/AFP

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, Germany – German airline group Lufthansa said Monday, March 2, it was extending flight cancellations on Iran and China routes until late April, part of a broader rollback because of the novel coronavirus.

The group’s namesake carrier and subsidiaries Austrian and Swiss will not fly to and from mainland China until April 24, Lufthansa said in a statement.

Meanwhile Tehran flights will be suspended until April 30.

The slashes to the flight plan are part of a wider scheme Lufthansa announced Friday, February 28, that will ground 23 long-haul aircraft and cut short- and medium-haul services by up to 25%.

Lufthansa said Monday it was reducing the frequency of flights between major German hubs like Frankfurt and Munich and Seoul and Hong Kong.

And the group is also reducing frequency on routes to cities in Italy, including Rome, Venice, and Milan, with subsidiary Brussels Airlines affected alongside low-cost carrier Eurowings, Austrian, and Swiss.

In northern Italy, 11 towns have been placed under quarantine because of the virus outbreak.

Even within Germany, the group is slashing flight frequency on domestic routes between major cities.

Lufthansa said passengers whose flights were affected by the timetable changes should check the company website for updates.

The group has also suspended new hires as part of its measures to cushion the business impact of the virus, which it said Monday was “not yet possible to estimate.”

The International Civil Aviation Organization has said that the virus outbreak could mean a $4-billion to $5-billion drop in worldwide airline revenue.

Meanwhile on Monday the global death toll from the coronavirus epidemic passed 3,000 as dozens more patients succumbed in China.

More than 89,000 people have now been infected around the world. –