Another step has been taken on the way to rescuing Lufthansa: in the evening, the Federal Government and the EU Commission reached a compromise on the requirements for the rescue package. Lufthansa is said to hand over some take-off and landing rights at Frankfurt and Munich airports. The group announced at night that the board accepted the proposal.
This means that an important hurdle for state aid has been overcome with a planned federal participation in Lufthansa. The federal government wants to support the airline with a nine billion euro aid package.
The compromise proposal obliges the airline to transfer up to four aircraft to each of the competitors at Frankfurt and Munich airports. This corresponds to up to 24 take-off and landing rights, so-called slots. In mathematical terms, this means three take-off and three landing rights per aircraft and day.
European lines can bid for slots
This option should only be available to new competitors at Frankfurt and Munich airports for at least one and a half years. If no new competitor makes use of the option, existing competitors could also take advantage of the option. The slots are to be allocated as part of a bidding process. Only European competitors who have not received substantial state recapitalization due to the corona pandemic can bid.
The Lufthansa Supervisory Board still has to approve the rescue package, including the EU requirements. The company plans to hold an extraordinary general meeting to obtain shareholder approval.
This was preceded by difficult negotiations between the Federal Government and the EU Commission, which had to agree to the rescue package. The Lufthansa Supervisory Board had warned that excessive circulation would weaken the hub function at the home airports in Frankfurt and Munich. Negotiations are not yet over with the compromise. Brussels still has to approve the package and the federal government has to notify it.
The Vice President of the EU Commission, Margrethe Vestager, defended the Commission's request on Friday. It is not about additional obstacles, but about preventing distortions of competition. The Irish low-cost airline Ryanair had criticized that the federal government's aid would further strengthen Lufthansa's monopoly-like access to the German aviation market. Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary had announced that he would take action against the state aid.
The federal government's rescue plan for Lufthansa provides that the State Economic Stabilization Fund (WSF) will subscribe to shares in the course of a capital increase in order to build up a 20 percent stake in the airline's share capital. In addition, silent deposits totaling up to EUR 5.7 billion and a loan of up to EUR 3 billion are planned.
Aid for Lufthansa became necessary because the corona pandemic with travel restrictions almost brought the company's business, with the exception of freight, to a standstill. In the group with around 138,000 employees, tens of thousands of jobs are therefore at risk.