Lufthansa to cut 33,000 flights due to Omicron - FAS newspaper

Planes of German air carrier Lufthansa are parked at Frankfurt airport in Frankfurt, Germany, June 2, 2020. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/File Photo

BERLIN, Dec 23 (Reuters) - Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) plans to cut 33,000 flights from its winter schedule due to the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant and related travel restrictions, CEO Carsten Spohr told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper.

"From mid-January to February, we see a sharp downturn in bookings," he told the newspaper on Thursday, adding that 33,000 flights was equivalent to about 10% of the flight plan.

In particular, Lufthansa was feeling the absence of passengers from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Belgium, which are being hit particularly hard by the pandemic, said Spohr.

He said that the German airline would have cut even more flights in January due to weak demand if it didn't have to comply with European Union regulations on slot usage.

"We have to operate 18,000 additional, unnecessary flights in the winter just to secure our take-off and landing rights," he said.

"While climate-friendly exemptions have been found in almost every other part of the world during the pandemic, the EU does not allow it in the same way," he said.

"This harms the climate and is exactly the opposite of what the EU Commission wants to achieve with its 'Fit for 55' plan."

Reporting by Miranda Murray Editing by Madeline Chambers

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