- German government extends travel warning until June 14, 2020: The Federal Foreign Office justified the extension with the «continuing strong and drastic restrictions in international air and travel traffic and worldwide entry restrictions, quarantine measures and restrictions on public life in many countries «. The decision about the summer vacation should be made later. «The decision to extend the travel warning must be seen in connection with the EU entry restrictions at the external borders, quarantine provisions in Germany on return travel and the EU internal border controls.» The duration of these measures should be coordinated. The Federal Foreign Office is in discussion with the European partners. Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas does not rule out agreements between individual European countries to enable cross-border summer holidays. The Austrian government has proposed border openings between individual EU countries for summer vacationers.
- German government expects severe recession: The German government is expecting an even more severe recession in Germany due to the Corona crisis. She expects gross domestic product (GDP) to fall by 6.3 percent this year. This would be a stronger economic slump than in the global financial crisis more than ten years ago. It is forecasted that the level before the Corona crisis will not be reached until 2022. Many sectors are severely affected by the massive restrictions in the fight against the virus – such as the aviation and travel industries, hotels and restaurants, but also the trades and industry. The federal government had launched extensive aid programs to protect jobs and companies.
- Austria’s hotels may open again at the end of May: Austria is preparing for a return of vacationers. According to Minister of Tourism Elisabeth Köstinger, the hotels may reopen on May 29th for private overnight stays. Tourist sites can then start operating again. The prerequisite is that the minimum distance of one meter can be maintained. Mouth and nose protection must also be worn in indoor areas and at least ten square meters of space must be available per visitor. While swimming pools and leisure facilities can also reopen on May 29th, zoos and restaurants can welcome guests again from May 15th. For example, a maximum of four adults plus children are allowed to sit at one table in restaurants. There must be a sufficient distance between the tables. And the service staff must wear mouth-nose protection.
- The tourism industry is still optimistic for summer vacations: As soon as the development of the corona pandemic permits, travel would initially be possible in Germany step by step, explains the DRV (German Travel Association). «This will be followed by successive trips to other countries in Europe, provided the conditions there are similar to those in Germany.» With the decision, the tour operators in Germany had a certain degree of planning security, the association said. Travel up to this date would now be gradually canceled.
- DRV (German Travel Association) demands national voucher solution: After EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders leaked to the press that he will not agree to a mandatory voucher solution for canceled trips, the DRV is now calling for a national solution. «This is a defeat for the federal government and a severe blow for the travel industry,» said the association. The DRV urges the federal government to immediately pass a national regulation. This is possible without violating EU law. Portugal is the latest example. The country implemented a national voucher solution last Friday. In addition, the DRV renewed its request from mid-March that the government should reimburse the travel agencies for the lost commissions and the organizers the cancellation costs.
- Two out of three travel companies rate their situation so dramatically that they see themselves immediately threatened by bankruptcy: 80 percent of the companies have already applied for help from the federal or state government. Three quarters are currently on short-time work. These results come from a current member survey of the DRV (German Travel Association) from April 21st to 24th. In total, more than 500 companies participated. Over half of these are travel agencies, almost a third are tour operators, and every fifth is active in a different area of tourism. According to the survey, one in five companies has already had to fire employees. Almost 80 percent of those surveyed are still reluctant to do so.
- Travel agency employees demonstrated nationwide on April 29: Thousands of travel agents demonstrated nationwide for immediate financial aid. There were rallies and protests in numerous German cities. In doing so, they want to draw attention to their precarious situation in the Corona crisis and call for support from the state. In Cologne, for example, 20 travel agency employees gathered with posters, empty suitcases and deckchairs to draw attention to their situation, which threatened the existence of the Corona crisis. The crisis has severely limited the number of participants in most cities.
- Condor receives a 550 million loan: The federal government and the Hessian state government provide Condor with another guarantee. Condor receives a loan of EUR 294 million as corona aid and EUR 256 million for the complete refinancing of the bridging loan that the holiday plane had received from Thomas Cook after the bankruptcy last winter. The EU Commission has already given its approval. The Condor flight operations are thus secured, according to the airline. “As an operationally healthy and profitable company, Condor was in need for the second time in less than half a year through no fault of its own. First through Thomas Cook and then through the effects of the corona pandemic, ”says CEO Ralf Teckentrup. The new financial aid was also necessary due to the failed takeover of Condor by the LOT mother PGL.
- Passenger numbers continue to fall in Frankfurt: Air traffic decreases from week to week in the Corona crisis. This is evidenced by the latest figures presented by the largest German airport operator Fraport. At Frankfurt Airport, the largest airport operated by Fraport, the collapse in passenger numbers as a result of the Corona crisis continued in the past week. From April 20 to 26, airport operator Fraport counted 45,270 passengers at Germany’s largest airport, 96.8 percent fewer than in the same calendar week a year earlier. The volume of freight and airmail dropped last week by 12.9 percent to 33,694 tons. The number of flight movements decreased by 84 percent to 1605 take-offs and landings.
- Lufthansa: The Lufthansa Group introduces a mask requirement on all of its flights. Accordingly, travelers will in future be obliged by the airlines to wear so-called mouth-nose protection during the flight..
- How Lufthansa wants to limit state influence despite saving money: Deutsche Lufthansa wants to continue to act as independently as possible despite targeted state aid. The group has introduced the so-called Airbus model in the current negotiations with the federal government. The states of Germany, France and Spain hold around a quarter of the shares in Airbus, but have no direct influence on the company and its business policy. Lufthansa would like to delegate this construction, especially when it comes to filling supervisory board positions. Even in the case of a direct participation of the federal government in Lufthansa – there is discussion of ten percent in negotiation circles – the government should refrain from sending an official or politician to the supervisory board. It should only have a right of veto over the composition of the supervisory board and thus have an indirect influence on its composition. Lufthansa apparently only wants to borrow as much money as is absolutely necessary. Because she firmly expects that she will have to repay the loans. Lufthansa CEO Spohr already said last week that after the corona crisis he expects an annual burden of EUR one billion that will be incurred for the repayment and interest of the state money. The reported aid amount of up to EUR ten billion should therefore not be exhausted, at least in the first step.
- Munich Airport closes Terminal 1: After the closure of Terminal 2 at Frankfurt Airport, the next terminal of a German airport is closed. Until further notice, flights will no longer take place at Terminal 1 at Munich Airport from April 29th. From this point on, all departures, arrivals and baggage claim will be handled via Terminal 2.
- Easyjet unlocks flight schedule for Easter 2021: After the Easter business failed this year, Easyjet is already thinking about 2021. The low-cost airline has now released its flight schedule for the next Easter vacation. For the period from March 28 to April 18, 2021, the British are planning a total of over 39,000 flights, more than 6.7 million seats are available. Easyjet also plans to activate the remaining summer flight schedule 2021. The airline has also updated its goodwill policy. Accordingly, customers can change the dates of their upcoming flights until April 18, 2021. The rebooking fee will not apply to existing or new bookings until further notice.
- The Lufthansa subsidiary Swiss and the Swiss airline Edelweiss receive state support because of the corona crisis: The airlines should get guarantees to bridge liquidity shortages, the Swiss government said. It is about CHF 1.9 billion (equivalent to around EUR 1.8 billion). The government guaranteed that the funds guaranteed by the federal government would only serve Swiss infrastructures. The money should not flow to the parent companies abroad. Specifically, 85 percent of the funds drawn, up to a maximum of CHF 1.275 billion, are to be secured by federal guarantees. A capital participation in Swiss or Edelweiss is not planned. Operations near the national airports should also receive support if necessary – up to CHF 600 million. Future funds should first be used to repay liquidity aid. Dividends or intra-group transfers are prohibited until the loans have been repaid in full.
- Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has ruled out state aid for Austrian Airlines (AUA) without concessions from Lufthansa: There will be no support without advantages for Austria, he said on Wednesday evening. The AUA had applied for EUR 767 million in state aid from the Corona relief fund in Austria on Tuesday evening.
- The first tour operators are cancelling trips until June 14 after extension of global travel warning from the Federal Foreign Office: DER Touristik cancels all trips abroad until June 14th, simultaneously activates additional products for winter 2020/21 and summer 2021 for booking. Anex Tour, including the brands Bucher Reisen and Öger Tours, cancels all departures until June 14th. The trips will be rebooked or canceled free of charge. G Adventures is also suspending all trips with departure dates up to and including June 30th. For customers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland who should go on a trip between June 1st and June 30th, the 20 percent deposit remains as travel credit and can be used for a future trip. After Alltours had initially canceled the trips until the end of April, the extension to trips up to and including May 15 now follows. Customers receive their payments back either as a refund, free rebooking or as a credit. Those who opt for a credit receive an upgrade and a VIP service on their next vacation. The credit can be redeemed for departures until October 31, 2021. TUI is also canceling trips until May 15th. The affected customers receive an additional credit of up to 150 euros if they decide to make a new appointment with their travel credit. In addition, customers who book or rebook their next trip by the end of June will receive a loyalty bonus of up to EUR 100 per person. The tour operator Chameleon also canceled trips until the end of June. At the same time, the organizer will activate all trips on their own website by the end of 2012.
- TUI expects regional re-openings: TUI CEO Fritz Joussen said to FVW that he expects a gradual re-opening of holiday destinations on a regional basis. «For example, the Balearics and the Canaries will be able to welcome guests earlier than holiday regions on the Spanish mainland,» he wrote in a letter to staff. TUI Germany sales chief Hubert Kluske had previously commented: «We are already in close contact with governments in our home market and in the holiday destinations. As soon as individual countries give a green light, we will be in a position to offer trips there. We expect that we will be able to fly guests to different destinations again in the peak summer holiday period.»
- Norwegian Cruise Line cancels all departures with embarkation dates until June 30, 2020: This affects all cruises of the three brands Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. «We continue to work closely with US disease control centers, global health agencies and governments to build on our already stringent health and safety protocols and to ensure that these new measures can be resumed safely,» said NCL- President Frank Del Rio.
- MSC is extending the fleet-wide suspension of cruises until July 10: The guests concerned will be offered a credit with which they can transfer the entire amount paid for their canceled cruise to a future cruise of their choice by the end of 2021.
- Aida Cruises interrupts the season until June, 30th : Aida offers guests whose travel was canceled between March 8 and June 30, 2020 a travel credit with a bonus of ten percent on the payment already made. The credit can be used for bookings and services until the end of 2021. Customers who want a direct payment will receive the travel price back.