Frankfurt (AFP)

German air carrier Lufthansa, which is the subject of an unprecedented rescue plan, said on Wednesday a net loss of 2.1 billion euros in the first quarter, and announced a "deep restructuring" of all its branches.

The coronavirus crisis has "weighed on our bottom line in an unprecedented way" and "demand will only recover very slowly, which we must counterbalance by a deep restructuring" explained the boss, Carsten Spohr, quoted in a press release.

As a result of this weak demand, the company forecasts that its flight offer will not exceed 40% in September of what was planned before the coronavirus pandemic.

To get through the crisis, it obtained 9 billion euros in public aid and guaranteed credits in Germany, by means of an entry in the capital of the State and concessions to competition, demanded by Brussels.

But that will not be enough: "Lufthansa plans to cut costs significantly compared to the pre-crisis level", explains the company, which announced at the beginning of April that it would reduce its fleet by 100 planes (out of 763) and close its Germanwings subsidiary.

"In the other branches of the group, restructuring and cost reduction programs will also be launched," adds Lufthansa. "In the medium term, we assess the sale of certain activities that are not part of our core business," she says.

While the German carrier offered in May only 3% of the usual number of seats on its flights, it restarted the pump in June to reach 2,000 weekly connections.

By September, it wants to serve 90% of the usual short-haul destinations again and 70% of long-haul. However, Lufthansa expects to keep 300 of its planes still on the ground in 2021 and 200 in 2022, a sign that it anticipates a slow recovery in demand.

At the height of the crisis, 700 planes were grounded while the number of passengers collapsed by 98% in April over a year.

© 2020 AFP