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“It is incomprehensible that Lufthansa, despite massive government aid, has not yet met its legal obligations and does not repay customers their money immediately,” said State Secretary for Economic Affairs Ulrich Nussbaum the “Spiegel” (online, Saturday). It is a “question of trust”. During the negotiations on the Lufthansa aid package, people had already spoken of the fact that the Federal Government was “very important” with the issue.
After the massive flight cancellations in the Corona crisis, thousands of consumers had to wait weeks and months later for the legally binding reimbursement of their tickets – and many are still waiting. Consumer advocates and aviation rights portals agree that the airlines, with a few exceptions, have deliberately delayed payments. There are calls from the opposition for government agencies to take tough action against airlines that are unwilling to pay.
There was also criticism of Lufthansa against the background that the airline had to be saved by the state with billions. Together with State Secretary for Finance Jörg Kukies, Nussbaum was in charge of the negotiations on the Lufthansa package.
“We are in excellent contact with the German government on the subject of reimbursements,” said a Lufthansa spokeswoman on Saturday in response to Nussbaum’s statements. In total, more than 2 billion euros have been paid out for the entire Lufthansa Group in 2020. Flights from March and April have already been largely processed. Less than a billion euros in reimbursements are still outstanding.
As a result of the corona pandemic, air traffic almost completely collapsed in mid-March and thousands of flights were canceled. In principle, the companies must reimburse the ticket price within seven days. Lufthansa and other companies, on the other hand, had initially relied on accepting customers with vouchers. However, this failed because of the EU Commission. At the beginning of July a law was passed in the Bundestag on how such vouchers should be designed. But nobody has to accept it, consumers can still have their money reimbursed.
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