Lufthansa CEO: Brussels Airlines must improve its results or lose out on investment
Tuesday, 05 June 2018
If Brussels Airlines does not achieve better results, then it should not expect any gifts from the Lufthansa group. This veiled warning came from Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr at the IATA aeronautical conference in Sydney. He also strongly criticised the pilots, who went on strike last month for two days.
The strategy of the Lufthansa group, which has owned 100% of Brussels Airlines since December, is very clear, according to Spohr. “The Lufthansa Group has fifteen airlines, and if you reduce costs and generate more income, you can count on our support,” he said.
Swiss, also a member of the Lufthansa Group, will soon add new aircraft to. “Austrian Airlines and Brussels Airlines did less well, so they should not expect additional investments. “Let me put it this way: their fate is in their own hands,” says Spohr.
In order to reverse the situation for Brussels Airlines, it will need the assistance of Eurowings, according to Spohr. Brussels Airlines is “too small to be a success story by itself. Nobody knows Brussels Airlines in Scandinavia or Madrid, Eurowings has to be the face of Brussels Airlines in Europe.” For long-haul flights, a change of name is less urgent according to the CEO.
The employees of Brussels Airlines should therefore be more committed to integrating with Eurowings, he says. “The Lufthansa Group does not need these synergies, nor does Eurowings However, Brussels Airlines does need them to maintain growth and, like Swiss, to add aircraft to its fleet and new destinations to the network.”
In addition, Spohr rebuked the airline’s pilots, who went on strike for two days as a result of dissatisfaction with the workload and wages. He said that the strike action was counterproductive because the company lost a lot of money.
The unions at Brussels Airlines had a different take on the CEO’s statements. They felt Spohr’s comments were not constructive and poorly timed. “We have been able to talk quite serenely in recent weeks: we need serenity and peace, not oil on the fire,” said Filip Lemberechts of the liberal trade union ACLVB.
Negotiation on wages and the workload of the pilots had gone smoother over the past few weeks, after they being stuck in mid-May following the two strike days and two fruitless reconciliation attempts. The unions said last week that they are not planning any new strikes for the time being. On 11 June they will re-evaluate the situation.