German flagship carrier Lufthansa said it would start flying 80 more of its aircraft again in June, including to serve tourism destinations after the company grounded much of its vast fleet due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The group, which includes Swiss International Air Lines and Austrian Airlines, said it was responding to growing customer demand following the easing of restrictions in Germany and other countries.
“We sense a great desire and longing among people to travel again. Hotels and restaurants are slowly opening, and visits to friends and family are in some cases being allowed again,” executive board member Harry Hohmeister said.
The 80 planes that will start flying again in June will bring the total number of aircraft in the Lufthansa Group operating to 160. At the end of 2019, the group had a fleet of 763 aircraft.
Despite the return to business, Luftansa said it is negotiating a €9 billion bailout with Germany’s economic stabilisation fund to ensure its future.
Governments worldwide have devoted more than €78 billion to prop up airlines after the coronavirus pandemic wiped out travel demand and grounded jetliner fleets.
Some 80% of flight capacity remains idled, while a rebound in China has stalled, leading the International Air Transport Association to suggest the recovery will be a tortuous one.