Lufthansa Agrees To Cede Airport Slots For Bailouts

Lufthansa has agreed on a compromise with the German government and the European Union on the way towards final approval of a nine-billion-euro ($9.7bn) bailout deal.


The German airline said in a statement on Saturday its supervisory board had decided to accept the deal worked out between negotiators for Berlin and the EU Commission which involves the giving up several slots at Frankfurt and Munich airports.

Late on Friday, government sources told DPA news agency the German government had also agreed to the compromise.

Lufthansa said the scope of commitments required of it by the EU Commission had been reduced compared with initial plans.

The company must remove up to four of its aircraft from Frankfurt and Munich airports to allow competitors to take those slots, which means giving up three takeoff and three landing rights per aircraft a day, according to Lufthansa.

The vacated slots are reportedly only available to new competitors at Frankfurt and Munich airports for at least 18 months.

If no new competitor makes use of the opportunity, it will also be extended to existing competitors at the respective airports.

The slots are to be allocated as part of a bidding process – and only to be taken over by a European competitor who has not received any significant state recapitalisation due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The EU said the compromise reflects commitments from Germany and Lufthansa “to preserve effective competition”.

“This would enable a viable entry or expansion of activities by other airlines at these airports to the benefit of consumers and effective competition,” a spokesperson for the EU said on Saturday morning.

Lufthansa’s supervisory board has to approve the rescue package including these requirements, called for by the European Commission’s competition watchdog.

The company then plans to convene an extraordinary general meeting promptly to obtain shareholder approval for the package.

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