German carrier Lufthansa has laid off 103 cabin crew members in India. Some of the affected employees are planning a protest at Delhi Airport’s Aerocity on Friday.
The carrier had around 140 cabin crew members in India.
The layoffs come a year after flights to and from India were restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Lufthansa had 56 weekly flights between Frankfurt and Munich and four Indian metros before COVID-19 pandemic, which has now come down to 10.
Lufthansa said that it had signed an agreement with the Indian union to provide two years of unpaid leave but continuing to provide local health insurance even for family members.
A Lufthansa spokesperson said the airline “regrets to confirm that it will not be extending the fixed-term employment contracts of its Delhi-based flight attendants. The severe financial impact of the Coronavirus pandemic leaves Lufthansa no choice but to restructure the airline. This includes personnel-related measures in Germany and Europe as well as in key international markets like India.”
Airlines globally have been hit hard by Covid restrictions on travel and many of them are struggling to survive by taking all possible cost-cutting measures.
India had formed an air bubble with Germany last July. In the initial days of this arrangement, Lufthansa was operating 20 flights a week while Indian carriers were having 3-4 flights a week to Germany.
India had objected to this disparity in numbers. As a result of this disagreement over the disparity, Lufthansa had cancelled all its planned India flights between September 30 and October 20, 2020.
After this Germany had withdrawn permission for AI to operate flights to Frankfurt in the first half of October, 2020.