Lufthansa will surrender as many as 24 take-off slots at Frankfurt and Munich airports as part of a deal with the European Commission over a €9 billion rescue plan for the airline group.
Lufthansa will reduce its presence at the two key German airports by four aircraft each and the slots will now be sold in a bidding process.
The slots can only be taken over by a European competitor that has not itself received any substantial state aid as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, which could see low-cost carriers pounce on the opportunity.
Lufthansa, the German government and European Commission have been locked in talks in recent days to decide how the airline group can secure a ‘fair’ bailout.
A number of airlines have had conditions attached to their state bailouts, including Air France-KLM, which must reduce its carbon emissions substantially as part of the terms of its package.
The conditions imposed on Lufthansa mean a competitor will be able to operate four planes from Frankfurt and Munich, each making three daily round-trips.
The deal could see up-and-coming competitors grab a greater market share in Lufthansa’s own backyard.
Industry experts predict that European low-cost carriers are most likely to bid for Lufthansa’s slots rather than long-haul carriers from the Gulf region, for example, given current market conditions.