Lufthansa says it's repaid German government's pandemic aid

Lufthansa says it’s repaid German government’s pandemic aid

BERLIN (AP) — Lufthansa said Friday that it has repaid all the aid it received from the German government last year to help the airline through the coronavirus pandemic.

Germany’s biggest airline, which also owns carriers including Austrian Airlines and Swiss, received a 9 billion euro ($10.3 billion) government rescue package in mid-2020. The German government took a 20% stake in the company, which has long made clear that it wanted to pay back the aid quickly.

Lufthansa said it was able to return the remaining money and cancel aid it hadn’t tapped on Friday. The company said it drew down about 3.8 billion euros of aid in total, including 306 million euros that covered the stake taken by the government’s economic stabilization fund.

“The repayment was made much earlier than originally planned,” the company said in a statement. “This was made possible primarily by the rising demand for air travel, the fast restructuring and transformation of the Lufthansa Group and the capital markets’ confidence in the company.”

CEO Carsten Spohr thanked the government and taxpayers, saying the help enabled the company to save more than 100,000 jobs.

The government’s stabilization fund has been reducing its stake in Lufthansa since August and now holds 14.09% of the company. The government said it will sell its remaining stake by October 2023.