Dhaka: The flag carrier of Germany Lufthansa has grounded the equivalent of 13 long-haul aircraft over coronavirus concerns. The move comes as the airline currently does not need the equivalent of 13 widebody aircraft in its fleet following its cancellation of various flights to China.
In early February, the carrier announced a suspension of flights to mainland China due to the coronavirus epidemic until the end of the IATA winter season–March 28.
Moreover, the airline also curtailed flights to Hong Kong, operating only some of the services it usually does.
The Lufthansa Group includes the German airline Lufthansa, as well as SWISS, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Eurowings. The suspension of flights to mainland China affects Austrian, SWISS and the main Lufthansa airline only.
Reports say the group is most likely to rotate aircraft out of service among its fleet.
“In order to make the most efficient use of the time during the operational break of the affected aircraft, necessary maintenance work will be carried out, in some cases even brought forward. In addition, free capacities are initially planned as operational reserves at the hubs in Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna and Zurich to stabilise the flight schedule,” the airline said in a statement.
Lufthansa operates 93 widebody aircraft, including A350s, A340s, A330s, A380s and Boeing 747s. Austrian’s fleet is smaller with six a piece of the Boeing 777 and 767, while SWISS flies a mix of 777s, A340s and A330s for long-haul operations.