At a press conference in Frankfurt last Thursday the CEO of Lufthansa, Christoph Franz, announced details for the long-planned restructuring of the company. From 2013 onwards Lufthansa will transfer all of its Europe-Germany flights—with the exception of those from Frankfurt and Munich—to the subsidiary company it formed ten years ago, German Wings.
German Wings will then be equipped to transport 18 million passengers annually in 90 planes which will have no business class section. The company management considers this “separation of the two business models” necessary to compete internationally against low-cost airlines such as Airberlin, Easyjet, and Ryanair and its Middle East competitors, Etihad and Emirates. The restructuring is aimed at increasing the annual operating profit of the group to 1.5 billion euros by 2015.
Specifically, the plans mean that from next year, thirty Lufthansa aircraft will fly under the logo of German Wings. The workforce—300 airline pilots and 1,000 flight attendants—face three options, according to Passage (Passenger Airlines) CEO Carsten Spohr: either quitting the company, moving to one of the remaining Lufthansa centers (which are already fully staffed), or a transfer to German Wings.
For most workers, such a transfer is seen as the only realistic perspective. At the same time it is associated with a significant worsening of income and working conditions. German Wings pays pilots an average of 20 percent less than Lufthansa, while cabin crew, depending on age and seniority, can expect to lose up to 40 percent of their current salaries. In addition, staff will be expected to work longer hours with shorter breaks between shifts and most likely reduced social benefits and employment protection…
Choosen excerpts by JMM from