On 26 January, the European Commission announced that it would carry out a more detailed review of the planned acquisition of SN Airholding NV, the parent company of Brussels Airlines. The deadline for examining the merger was therefore extended until 10 June 2009. A decision had originally been expected for the end of January. Lufthansa is nevertheless expecting the planned transaction to be approved.
Lufthansa Cargo has adopted an extensive set of measures in response to the drastic fall in freight volumes in recent months. Since 1 March 2009, 2600 employees have therefore been on reduced working hours. A corresponding works agreement was signed on 12 February 2009. This measure, which is initially to run for twelve months, enables production volumes to be reduced flexibly by up to 20 per cent. At the beginning of the year, Lufthansa Cargo had already cut freighter capacities by 10 per cent in response to lower demand. Moreover, the company is monitoring demand very closely and will take further measures in the event of further deterioration.
Lufthansa Italia began scheduled services on 2 February 2009. Since then the first two Airbus A319s have been connecting Milan to Paris and Barcelona. Four more destinations followed in March – Brussels, Budapest, Bucharest and Madrid. Furthermore, non-stop connections to London and Lisbon are to begin from the start of the summer 2009 flight timetable. Lufthansa is thus exploiting available opportunities on the attractive north Italian market.
With the expiry of the wage settlement on 31 December 2008, the trade union UFO presented demands for a 15 per cent salary increase for 16,000 Lufthansa flight attendants in Germany. Lufthansa put forward an extensive offer, based on the ver.di agreement reached in August 2008 with Lufthansa ground staff, which includes an increase in remuneration, a profit-share payment and concrete suggestions for improving working conditions. The union has nevertheless provisionally withdrawn from negotiations and carried out initial warning strikes. In mid-February 2009 UFO walked out of negotiations in the fifth round and called for a strike ballot.