March 19, 2020 / 6:00 AM / 10 days ago

Airline industry may not survive without state aid - Lufthansa

BERLIN, March 19 (Reuters) - Lufthansa said that the airline industry may not survive without state aid if the coronavirus pandemic lasts for a long time, as it throws everything at bringing home travellers and keeping industrial supply chains open.

The German airline group, which has implemented drastic capacity reductions, introduced short-time working and suspended its dividend, said it was impossible to forecast the impact of coronavirus on its profitability.

“The spread of the coronavirus has placed the entire global economy and our company as well in an unprecedented state of emergency,” CEO Carsten Spohr said in a statement. “At present, no one can foresee the consequences.”

Lufthansa, which also owns Swiss International, Austrian Airlines and Brussels Airlines, has carried out and planned 140 relief flights to repatriate stranded citizens in what has been described as the biggest operation of its kind.

“In addition, we are doing our utmost to help ensure that supply chains for many thousands of businesses do not break down by mobilising additional capacity for air freight transport,” said Spohr.

Senior management will take a 20% pay cut, Lufthansa said, as it confirmed results already released on March 13. (Reporting by Douglas Busvine; editing by Thomas Seythal)

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