Lufthansa to lay off 1,200 staff through closure of SunExpress charter business

German arm of venture run with Turkish Airlines flew tourists to holiday destinations in Egypt and Bulgaria

epa08504186 An empty check-in counter of German airline SunExpress at the International Airport in Duesseldorf, Germany, 23 June 2020. Due to the coronavirus crisis, Lufthansa is closing down the flight operations of its subsidiary Sun Express Germany with around 1200 employees. The remaining flights are to be handled by the Turkish sister company, Eurowings and other airlines, the company announced.  EPA/SASCHA STEINBACH
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Lufthansa will close the German charter arm of its SunExpress venture with Turkish Airlines as it extends measures to cut costs and trim the network amid slumping demand.

SunExpress Deutschland, which carried German tourists to destinations including Egypt and Bulgaria with a fleet of 20 planes, will shut down at a cost of 1,200 jobs, according to a statement on Tuesday.

Lufthansa will take over the unit’s seven Airbus A330 wide-body aircraft, while 11 smaller Boeing 737 jets will be transferred to SunExpress’s Turkish arm, which will continue flying under a separate air operator’s certificate.

Europe’s biggest airline is cutting its own fleet by about 100 aircraft amid forecasts that the coronavirus crisis will depress demand for years to come. It has already closed its Germanwings discount division and has warned that slimming down operations could lead to 22,000 job losses across the group.

Lufthansa shares ownership of SunExpress with Turkish Airlines. The surviving part of the venture will focus on holiday flights from Germany, Austria and Switzerland to Turkey, plus Turkish domestic services, using a fleet of about 60 planes, including the transferred 737s.

Lufthansa faces a crucial vote on Thursday, when shareholders will be asked to back the issuing of new stock to the German government as part of a €9 billion (Dh37bn) rescue package. Majority investor Heinz Hermann Thiele opposes the terms of the bailout and may seek to block it.