June 7, 2020 / 2:07 PM / a month ago

Lufthansa CEO promises Germans a 'homecoming guarantee'

FILE PHOTO: The first Lufthansa flight to Greece after a nationwide coronavirus lockdown is seen upon arrival at the Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport in Athens, Greece, May 18, 2020. Picture taken through a window. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

BERLIN (Reuters) - Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) will bring home any Germans it flies abroad on vacation, Chief Executive Carsten Spohr said in a newspaper interview, seeking to assuage holidaymakers’ concerns that new coronavirus outbreaks could leave them stranded.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Wednesday said that Germany would not undertake another repatriation initiative this summer, as it did when the coronavirus pandemic struck earlier this year.

But in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, Spohr sought to address Germans’ concerns about booking foreign holidays in case there is a coronavirus outbreak in their country of destination while they are away.

“We are aware of this (concern), which is why we are introducing a homecoming guarantee. Whoever wants to return to Germany, we will bring back,” he told the newspaper.

“Be it because they are not allowed to enter the country due to an elevated temperature at their destination, or because they have to be quarantined there, or because of a virus outbreak in the host country - in all these cases there will be a guaranteed return flight.”

Lufthansa has pledged a wide-ranging restructuring, from thousands of job cuts to asset sales, as it seeks to repay a 9 billion euro (8.1 billion pounds) state bailout and navigate deepening losses in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by David Goodman

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