27 May 2020, 13:44
Julian Wettengel

German media divided on Lufthansa rescue package

Clean Energy Wire

While some media commentators welcome the deal to rescue Germany’s national airline Lufthansa and say a lack of concrete sustainability criteria is justified, others write that the government should use its future stake to implement a climate-friendly strategy.

In tageszeitung (taz), Anja Krüger warns that the Lufthansa deal must not become a model for other company rescue plans because the common good, employees and the environment would fall by the wayside. By waiving sustainability requirements, “the government shows it doesn’t care about employees and the climate”. In the same newspaper, Klaus Hillenbrand writes that with the decision to help Lufthansa, the state accepts it will harm the climate, an inherent issue of aviation. The government should not forbid Lufthansa to carry out domestic flights, but ban them outright – levelling the playing field for all airlines in Germany, Hillenbrand argues.
The state’s proposed stake in the company is “unobjectionable” in principle, writes Marc Beise in an opinion in Süddeutsche Zeitung. “The alternative would have been the insolvency of the largest European and only German airline, with serious consequences for all sides.” The rescue deal is also “well-designed”, as the government would not exert too much influence and nominate independent experts to the supervisory bodies, he adds. However, while the government should keep its hands off the operating business, it has a responsibility to use its stake to promote a climate-friendly business strategy, writes Beise.

The government rescue package, which includes loans worth 3 billion euros and a 20 percent stake in the airline, has attracted criticism for its lack of concrete sustainability criteria. Despite pressure to link economic aid to environmental conditions, the deal contains no climate guarantees other than Lufthansa being “committed to pursuing sustainability goals”. 

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