Austrian crew member wearing a mask

Lufthansa Group permits passengers with health conditions to fly mask free

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Austrian crew member wearing a mask

From 1 September, the Lufthansa Group airlines (Austrian, Brussels Airlines, Eurowings, Lufthansa, SWISS)  is allowing those with health conditions to fly mask-free upon presentation of a medical certificate. Passengers will be able to download the document from the retrospective airlines’ websites. In addition, passengers must also present a negative COVID-19 test, taken no longer than 48 hours prior to departure. This ensures maximum safety for the passengers travelling with them.

Children under the age of six continue to be exempt from the wearing a face mask.

Lufthansa Group’s General Conditions of Carriage (GTC) will in future stipulate that anyone with a known or positive COVID-19 infection are not permitted to board the aircraft.

“We have always emphasised that safety is our top priority, especially in the age of COVID-19, and a mask is the simplest and most effective protection against transmission,” commented Austrian Airlines COO Jens Ritter. “The majority of our passengers comply with the rules in an exemplary manner. With the current change, we are taking an additional step towards greater health protection on the aircraft.”

Lufthansa suffers from collapse in air travel

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Lufthansa Group has reported an 80% drop in revenue for the second quarter of 2020.

The Group recorded revenues of €1.9 billion compared to €9.6 billion at the same time last year. Most of the revenue (€1.5 billion) was generated by Lufthansa Cargo and Lufthansa Technik.

For the first half of 2020, Lufthansa Group revenue fell by 52% to €9.6 8 billion euros (previous year: 17.4 billion euros). During this time, he Lufthansa Group airlines carried a total of 23.5 million passengers, two thirds fewer than in the same period last year (66% reduction). Capacity decreased by 61%.

In the second quarter of 2020, the Lufthansa Group airlines carried 1.7 million passengers, 96% fewer than in the previous year. Capacity fell by 95%.

The Group currently expects demand for air travel to return to pre-crisis levels in 2024 at the earliest. In response, it is to embark on a comprehensive restructuring programme entitled “ReNew”, which also includes the restructuring program already underway at the airlines and service companies.

The aim remains to maintain the global competitiveness and future viability of the Lufthansa Group. The Group’s fleet is to be permanently reduced by at least 100 aircraft. Nevertheless, the capacity offered in 2024 is to correspond to that of 2019.

Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Deutsche Lufthansa AG said: “We are experiencing a caesura in global air traffic. We do not expect demand to return to pre-crisis levels before 2024. Especially for long-haul routes there will be no quick recovery.”

The Group plans to return to 95% of the short- and medium-haul and 70% of the long-haul destinations by the end of the year.

Lufthansa Group offers Deutsche Telekom customers free in-flight Wi-Fi access

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Residential customers of Deutsche Telekom are receiving free in-flight broadband on all domestic, short and medium haul flights operated by Lufthansa Group (Lufthansa, Eurowings and Austrian Airlines).

Introduced towards the end of April 2020 the offer has now been extended until the end of 2021.

“According to a Bitkom survey, every other German would like to surf the Internet free-of-charge onboard an airplane,” says Hagen Rickmann, Board Member Business Customers at Deutsche Telekom. “We are now responding to this request and expanding our Wi-Fi offering on the plane. From now on, private customers can also surf free of charge on European flights of the Lufthansa Group.”

Inmarsat and Deutsche Telekom are working together to enable advanced roaming services, allowing subscribers of mobile network operators and Wi-Fi service providers to automatically access the in-flight Wi-Fi service.

“The simplicity of a plug-and play experience is the key reason why 40% of mobile subscribers in Europe actively use cellular roaming services when abroad. We now have the technology to fully emulate that cellular roaming experience on a flight. Merely turn on your smartphone and start using the inflight Wi-Fi services,” explains Asbjorn Christoffersen, Inmarsat Aviation’s Vice President of Retail Revenue Management.

“Starting with mobile app-based roaming – using the WISPr technology – we’ll expect to rapidly transition to fully automated cellular style roaming using Passpoint technology.”

Passengers are billed via their regular mobile network subscription.

As part of the campaign, Deutsche Telekom customers with a Magenta Mobil M tariff or higher can book the ‘Inflight Europa Flat’ Wi-Fi free of charge. For business customers, the flat rate is now also available free of charge from the Business Mobil M rate onwards. The tariff option is simply booked before the journey starts. The offer also applies to business customers of Magyar Telekom, Hrvatski Telekom, Slovak Telekom and T-Mobile Czech Republic, who use the One App instead of Deutsche Telekom’s Connect App.

The offer of free GX Aviation inflight broadband will be communicated via onboard announcements. Passengers can either login onto the connectivity service manually (via the portal of the respective airline) or through Deutsche Telekom’s Connect App. GX Aviation is available as soon as cruising altitude is reached. The app then automatically displays the available Wi-Fi and asks whether a connection should be established.

Facemasks

Airlines introduce compulsory face mask measures for passengers

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Facemasks

From 4 May, a number of airlines are introducing mandatory requirements for passengers to wear face masks onboard.

Passengers flying with the Lufthansa Group and its airlines will be required to wear a face mask covering the nose and mouth on board their flights. In addition, the group recommends that passengers wear them throughout the entire journey. This includes prior to and after the flight, and throughout the airport when the required minimum distance cannot be guaranteed without restriction. All flight attendants on Lufthansa Group flights in direct contact with customers will also be required to wear a mask.

All passengers are requested to bring their own face mask and a reusable fabric mask is recommended, but all other types of coverings such as simple disposable masks or scarves are also acceptable. The airlines will inform their passengers in advance by SMS or e-mail and on their websites about the new regulations.

The obligation to wear the mask will preliminarily apply until 31 August 2020.

The current regulation of Lufthansa Group Airlines to keep the neighbouring seat free in Economy and Premium Economy Class will no longer apply, as wearing the mouth-nose cover provides adequate health protection.  Due to the current low occupancy rate, seats will nevertheless be allocated as widely as possible throughout the cabin.

In the US, JetBlue passengers customers will be required to wear a face covering during travel. The policy comes after the airline began requiring all crew members to wear face coverings while working. JetBlue has modelled its policy on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines that indicate all individuals should wear a face covering in public to help slow the spread of the COVID-19.

This new policy will require customers to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth throughout their journey, including during check-in, boarding, while in flight and deplaning. Customers will be reminded of this requirement before their flight via email and at the airport by both terminal signage and announcements. Small children who are not able to maintain a face covering are exempt from this requirement.

CDC guidance defines a suitable face covering as an item of cloth that should fit snugly against the side of the face, be secured with ties or ear loops, include multiple layers of fabric and allow for unrestricted breathing. The CDC recommends surgical masks and N-95 respirators be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders.

From 1 May, American Airlines will start the process of distributing sanitising wipes or gels and face masks to its customers. This offering will expand to all flights as supplies and operational conditions allow.

Masks will be required for flight attendants during every mainline and regional flight. In addition, the airline has added a drawer in the galley on every mainline flight containing personal protective equipment, including masks for flight attendants and pilots, and other sanitising items.