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CLARA MOSCHINI

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No more transport by aircraft without State aid

Carsten Spohr, CEO of Lufthansa said it

After the requests for State aid made yesterday by Boeing to the United States and of which AVIONEWS reported (read here), Carsten Spohr, Lufthansa's number one, also expressed his fears that "without State aid, the aviation system would not can be guaranteed in the future". The CEO justified his belief with the fact that "to fight the virus, 90% of the company's planes -700 of 763, Editorial notice- are stuck on the ground".

The German manager sees no immediate problems "because Lufthansa has a good financial position", but, he specified, "State aid will probably be needed if the blockade persists". 2019 was not an easy year for the carrier, after a fall 2018 compared to 2017 in which it had recorded the "best result in history". Once again, the operating results -which mark a net suffering with a net result of EUR 1.2 billion, down 44% compared to 2.2 billions in 2018- and unit revenues per passenger, reduced by 2.5%, of an excess supply on the domestic market. While from a financial point of view the German company can boast a 2.5% increase in revenues to 36.4 billions, to which must be added the decision to increase the additional funds by around EUR 600 millions.

In addition, Lufthansa has credit lines for approximately 800 million Euros. In this situation -AVIONEWS reports- the Group has liquidity of around EUR 4.3 bn. Figures that allowed the financial manager Ulrik Svensson to reiterate that "The Lufthansa Group is financially well equipped to cope with an extraordinary crisis situation such as the current one. We own almost all (86%) of the Group's fleet which is largely released and has a book value of around EUR 10 billions". However, poor results and Covid crisis lead to caution. "We have decided to propose to the shareholders' meeting to suspend the payment of the dividend" and to "reduce the basic remuneration by 20%".

"We do not intend to sell our planes. We consider it more efficient to use them as a guarantee to negotiate loans on more favorable terms from the banks". A series of information and data -AVIONEWS points out- which on the one hand seem to reduce the hypotheses of participation in the acquisition of Alitalia, also supported by an Italian senator, and on the other one they would seem to confirm a certain propensity for the expansion of the Cologne company .

AVIONEWS recalls that Alitalia was the main beneficiary of the first intervention by the Italian Government which, in the decree to deal with the consequences of Covid-19, practically nationalized the company trying to remove it from possible buyers who could have played downward considering the 'current situation. However, that of airlines is not the only future currently uncertain in the air transport sector. There are a number of equally fundamental components such as companies that ensure air traffic control, such as ENAV (Italian Flight Assistance company), and those that manage airports that must be protected. The risk, in very elementary terms, is that the ownership of these assets, which have always been considered strategic, will end up outside the control by the Governments of each Country. An extremely serious and complex issue in which financial and political interests meet because air transport acts as a stimulus force for territorial development.

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© AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency Srl
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