Lufthansa closes Germanwings: Will I get my money back?

Soon a historical picture: A Germanwings Airbus approaching Stuttgart Airport. Following the announcement by Lufthansa about the closure of Germanwings, customers are now uncertain about flights booked with Germanwings. / Photo: Markus Mainka

The effects of the Corona crisis on the tourism and aviation industry are dramatic: financial losses at an unpredictable amount, entire fleets of aircraft parked on orphaned runways, and personnel threatened with drastic wage cuts. But now Lufthansa went one step further and closes Germanwings. This News by far is not good – neither for the staff nor for the customers. There are many questions waiting for answers, for example, whether flights booked with Germanwings are reimbursable and how things will continue for the approximately 1,400 employees.

Why was the decision made to close Germanwings?

It is no secret that the Corona crisis has hit airlines particularly hard. In view of the beginning holiday season, Lufthansa and Co. expected profits in the millions – instead, losses in the billions are probably waiting. The parent company of Germanwings, the Lufthansa Group, now took one of the last tangible steps to preserve its liquidity and reduce costs where possible. According to Lufthansa, the company wants to reorganize its internal structures in order to cope with the enormous challenges of the corona crisis.

Therefore it is assumed that the Germanwings News is not the last bad news. Similar fears arose already days ago among the employees because the employees of Germanwings had not been sent on short-time work – in contrast to the regular staff of Lufthansa. This would have guaranteed jobs for Germanwings employees, which is a basic prerequisite for the approval of state funds for short-time work benefits.

What happens to flights booked with Germanwings?

Lufthansa is closing Germanwings, but what happens to the bookings and reservations that are still pending? The company recently suspended the automatic refund for cancelled bookings for tickets purchased from Lufthansa itself. The amount to be refunded would have been too large, as many flights had to be cancelled due to numerous international travel restrictions and the travel warning issued by the German Foreign Office.

The same is now threatening the customers of Germanwings. However, as the parent company continues to exist, it is not possible to switch to bankruptcy law. This means that the customers of the subsidiary Germanwings are entitled to a refund of the original ticket price according to the current legal situation. If no or not complete payments have been made yet, you should not do this now, because due to the current situation the refunds will probably take several months.

What does the closure of Germanwings mean for the employees?

The 1,400 people affected reacted with anger and incomprehension because only a short time ago, a Lufthansa spokespersons denied a possible disposing of subsidiaries. However, the closure of the Germanwings company once again shows how much the Lufthansa Group is struggling with the corona crisis.

Most of the employees of Germanwings who will now lose their jobs will be accommodated within the group. However, it is unclear how successful this plan can be if Lufthansa’s own permanent staff already has to stay on the ground due to the numerous travel restrictions and cancellations.

It is also expected that the extreme restrictions that have hit tourism around the world will continue for months to come. This is likely to include the high season between June and mid-September, when many holidays are traditionally taken by air. Industry experts do not expect a quick full recovery and assume that the pre-crisis level can only be reached again in 2022.

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