A Germanwings aeroplane at the airport in Duesseldorf, Germany. Picture: INA FASSBENDER/AFP
A Germanwings aeroplane at the airport in Duesseldorf, Germany. Picture: INA FASSBENDER/AFP

Frankfurt am Main — German airline group Lufthansa on Tuesday said it was shutting down its low-cost Germanwings unit and getting rid of dozens of planes to survive the economic impact of the coronavirus on the aviation industry.

"Germanwings flight operations will be discontinued," Lufthansa said in a statement after a meeting of the group's executive board. It did not give details about job losses, but said talks with unions "are to be arranged quickly".

More than 40 aircraft will be withdrawn to reduce the group's fleet size, it added.

"It will take months until the global travel restrictions are completely lifted and years until the worldwide demand for air travel returns to pre-crisis levels," it said.

The trade union representing cabin crew at Germanwings had decided last Wednesday to end their strike after three days of stoppages led to dozens of flights being cancelled.

On Monday German unions appealed to the airline's management to support Germanwings after Lufthansa rejected their  to implement shortened work hours, also known as Kurzarbeit, which would have saved jobs in the short term.

Trade unions and associations VC, UFO, Verdi, IGL/TGL and ACA made the  joint appeal.

Reuters