Lufthansa chief executive Carsten Spohr has admitted that the group’s €9 billion (US$10.1 billion) bailout package from the German government is larger than what it needs to survive, and is designed to ensure the airline maintains a “global leading position,” reported The Financial Times.
Mr Spohr’s comments come after the European Commission warned against State aid being used to give the group an unfair advantage and strong criticism from low-cost rival Ryanair, which has pledged to launch a legal challenge once the bailout is approved by antitrust authorities.
Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition chief, said on Friday, May 29, there was a “high risk” of market distortion, as she defended Brussels’ demands for Lufthansa to relinquish lucrative slots at Frankfurt and Munich airports.
On Wednesday, June 3, after Lufthansa’s supervisory board had accepted the EU’s conditions, Mr Spohr conceded that with €4 billion (US$4.5 billion) in existing liquidity, the Frankfurt-based group did not need the full €9 billion from the administration of Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Asked by the Financial Times if Lufthansa could have got by with less, Mr Spohr said, “Yes, but it was not just about survival.” He added: “The German government was focused on how Lufthansa can maintain its position as a German global champion, not just how it can avoid insolvency.”
Full Content: Financial Times
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