Lufthansa crisis, Lauda, South African, KLM, Virgin,

Lauda

RyanAir closed down the airlines base of operations at Vienna Airport at the end of May, but a last minute deal with around 80% of the remaining crews means operations will resume on July 12th but with around 82 staff fired for refusing new contracts.

However, this will not be the Lauda once envisioned as a major force for tourism and travel in Central Europe. Instead the airline will offer itself as a wet lease charter operation to other airlines who need the capacity at bargain rates.

Quite what RyanAir will do with it long term is hard to work out, they don’t know the answer themselves.


South African Airways

The latest plans show the airline is to be shrunk to just 13 aircraft from 40, and then slowly increase that to 26 by 2023, with first profits forecast in 2024.

Projected losses have been cut by about 45% by the latest proposal and the government is said to be giving consideration to approve it.

The mere idea of SAA ever being profitable is extraordinary and it will take an iron will and a strong management team to make it happen. And the government needs to leave it alone to do its job if it’s ever going to have a chance.


KLM

KLM is expecting to have 80% of its European network up and running in July, increasing that to 95% during August, totalling 11,000 flights.

It’s also gearing up for 2,000 long haul flights in August as it’s freighter commitments wind down.

KLM has been quick to restart, making sure it’s hub at Amsterdam is in prime position for transit traffic. Throughout the pandemic for example KLM was one of the only passenger operators flying into U.K. airports, even if it was at minimal levels.


Spirit

A common theme with low cost airlines is their speed of service restoration and Spirit, who cut capacity by 90% in May, are looking at restoring 80% in July.

The airline plans to fly some 550 flights a day and is returning to most of its key destinations.

At Baltimore-Washington for example, it will go from zero to twenty-five flights a day, restoring full operations.


Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic are restarting their passenger services to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tel-Aviv, New York and Washington DC in July through August.

They also plan restorations to Bridgetown and Orlando but only from London Heathrow. Flights to Orlando will only resume from Manchester and Belfast in 2021.

Trump’s travel ban which stops any foreign executives working in the US even temporarily is likely to have an impact on any business travel. Huge increases in Covid cases in many states will also put off travellers, as the US seems to have totally given up trying to stop the pandemic and is sleepwalking into rising death tolls.

The airline will also only be flying out of Terminal 2 at Heathrow as the airport doesn’t want to open T3 where Virgin Atlantic, Delta, American, Finnair and some BA flights depart from. There just isn’t enough demand yet.


Lufthansa Crisis

Lufthansa paid all of its staff early this month to make sure that salaries due on the 26 June wouldn’t be affected by what looks like almost certain insolvency, and bankruptcy protection will have to be declared.

With only 38% of shareholders signed up to even attend the emergency meeting on 25th June that can approve the bailout provided by banks and the state and federal governments, it’s looking bad. The airline needs 67% of shareholders to approve the deal. Most vocal is Hans Heinrich Tielman, who has some 15.5% of the shares and is the largest single shareholder. He’s opposed to the deal and has been talking directly with the government who are trying to persuade him to agree.

Lufthansa says it’s ready for the insolvency process if it has to take that path, but it will mean swingeing job cuts and route terminations, as well as multiple aircraft retirements.