Lufthansa Plans Considerable Staff Increase

The carrier announced plans to hire more than 4,000 new staff in 2016, including 240 pilots. The plan demonstrates the management’s unequivocal commitment to restructuring the airline group, consisting of Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian and budget carrier Eurowings, despite fierce opposition by the carrier’s pilots and cabin crews in an attempt to conserve their status and privileges.

The New Year was only a couple of hours old when the Lufthansa Group surprisingly published a plan to create over 4,000 new jobs in 2016. According to their announcement, 2,800 new flight attendants will be hired, with Lufthansa employing 1,400, Swiss 800, Eurowings 360, Austrian 200 and LH CityLine 30. Also, 240 additional pilots are on the sourcing list of Eurowings and Austrian, followed by further ground and service staff which should join the Lufthansa Group this year.

Flexible job offers
Basically, Lufthansa asks new flight attendants to decide between two kinds of entry-level contracts:

  • A permanent position with a part time factor of 83 percent in which crew members fly full time in summer and part time in winter.
  • a two year contract with a part time factor of 50 percent which can be extended once every two years. In this model flight attendants work full time in summer followed by six months free time. Entry to this type of contract is possible from November to January.

The airline stresses that in both variants salary and social insurance are paid for the entire year.

LH Chairman and CEO Carsten Spohr  -  courtesy LH
LH Chairman and CEO Carsten Spohr - courtesy LH

LH Cargo’s staff is expected to shrink
LH Cargo is not part of the recruiting initiative of the LH Group. In contrast, market observers expect the freight carrier to cut jobs as a consequence of its upcoming savings program named C40, which stipulates that the cargo arm of the airline saves €40 million each year from 2018 onwards. Currently a group of experts is working out the specifics of the program as a foundation for a final decision to be taken by LH Cargo’s management next May.

2016 can only get better
Aside from Lufthansa Cargo’s situation, the hiring initiative of the Lufthansa Group aired January 1, comes rather unexpectedly. This, because 2015 was seen as an annus horribilis for the carrier. Lufthansa’s dismay began with the suicidal crash of its low cost daughter Germanwings in the French Alps last March, killing all 150 people on board the A320. More bad news poured in some months after, when the pilots decided to continue their many strike actions, which obviously motivated also LH’s cabin crews to start a week-long walkout last November, crippling the carrier’s operations and causing massive financial harm not to mention the loss of reputation as one of the most reliable airlines worldwide.
Strangely enough, the airline’s image as a sought-after and modern employer hasn’t obviously been harmed by the many strikes and the Germanwings catastrophe. This was emphasized by Lufthansa Chief Carsten Spohr when presenting the staffing plans: “For many applicants the Lufthansa Group is a dream employer. We are therefore even more pleased that we can fulfill this dream for 4,000 people.”
Hopefully, the recruiting initiative can heal some of the wounds LH suffered in its “annus horribilis” 2015.

Heiner Siegmund

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