Lufthansa chief to meet Austrian chancellor to discuss state aid

FILE PHOTO: Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Executive Board and Chief Executive Officer of Deutsche Lufthansa AG attends the Europe Aviation Summit in Brussels, Belgium March 3, 2020. REUTERS/Johanna Geron

VIENNA (Reuters) – Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) boss Carsten Spohr will meet in Vienna on Wednesday to discuss urgently needed state aid for the German carrier’s Austrian business, a spokesman for Kurz said.

Lufthansa, which like many international carriers was forced to ground nearly all its flights as the coronavirus outbreak spread, is in negotiations over a 9 billion euro ($9.76 billion) rescue package. The talks include governments in Austria, Switzerland and Belgium, where Lufthansa owns local airlines.

“The Chancellor will listen to what Lufthansa will present,” the spokesman said.

He reaffirmed the Austrian government’s position that it will require job guarantees and an assurance that Vienna will remain a transfer hub in return for financial support.

Lufthansa’s Austrian unit AUA said late on Tuesday that it had applied for state aid of 767 million euros, of which a large part should be repayable loans and the remainder grants. These grants were still under negotiation, an AUA spokesman said.

Reporting by Alexandra Schwarz-Goerlich; Writing by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by David Goodman

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