Lufthansa cedes key slots to competitors in bailout deal

Slots at Frankfurt and Munich are up for grabs as Lufthansa reaches deal with European Commission for €9 billion bailout
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Lufthansa Group, Lufthansa, Slots, Munich Airport, Frankfurt Airport
Oliver Roesler/Lufthansa

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.

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