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Germany’s Lufthansa to hire 20,000 employees as recovery gathers pace

Lufthansa on Monday launched a drive to hire 20,000 employees, as the German airline giant recovers strongly from the coronavirus pandemic and seeks to tackle staffing shortages.

Lufthansa aircrafts in Hamburg.
Lufthansa aircrafts in Hamburg. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Daniel Bockwoldt

The airline made huge losses when the virus brought global air travel to a halt but a rebound in demand has helped it return to profit this year.

Lufthansa said it was seeking the new hires in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Belgium, with roles ranging from pilots and flight attendants to technicians and IT specialists.

A spokesman said some of the roles were being newly created while some were replacements for people who had left.

“In order to be at the forefront of the industry, we need dedicated and  motivated employees for a variety of tasks and challenges,” said personnel chief Michael Niggemann.

READ ALSO: Germany’s Lufthansa said ‘left pandemic behind’ as passenger numbers spike

According to figures published in October, Lufthansa had 108,000 employees at the end of September. It had 138,000 at the end of 2019, prior to the pandemic.

The airline industry in Europe is scrambling to hire new staff to cope with the rebound in demand, after many quit or were let go during the pandemic.

Lufthansa, which cut thousands of staff during the pandemic, faced strike action by pilots and ground staff over the summer, due to worker shortages but also rising inflation.

The airline group subsequently agreed to pay hikes for staff in several different areas.

The major staff shortages – at Lufthansa as well as at airports and several other airlines – contributed to months of chaos for passengers this year when people began to travel more as the pandemic situation eased.

In the third quarter, the airline group — which also includes Eurowings, Austrian, Swiss and Brussels Airlines — reported a healthy profit, and declared it had “left the pandemic behind”.

Lufthansa made huge losses in 2020 and 2021, and had to be bailed out by the German government, but it reported that its finances stabilised earlier than expected.

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DEUTSCHE BAHN

ICE 3neo: Deutsche Bahn’s speediest train makes first trip in Germany

The high-speed train took off for the first time with paying passengers on the Frankfurt-Cologne route.

ICE 3neo: Deutsche Bahn's speediest train makes first trip in Germany

The new express trains can reach a top speed of 320 kilometres per hour – up from the previous 300 km/hour – and will mainly travel on special “speedways”, initially between Dortmund, Cologne, Stuttgart and Munich. 

Connections to Brussels and Amsterdam are set to follow in 2024. The trains will be featured on Deutsche Bahn’s new schedule set to come out on December 11th. 

READ ALSO: Everything that changes in Germany in December 2022

From the outside, the Siemens-built train looks nearly identical to the current ICE 3 model, but the main improvements can be seen from the inside, said DB in a statement. 

Above all, the new trains boast better lighting, mobile radio-transparent windows and space for eight bicycles. In addition, a fast lifting platform has been built to make it easier for wheelchair users or people with disabilities to get on board.     

Deutsche Bahn ordered a total of 73 ICE 3neo trains from manufacturer Siemens, four of which have already been delivered, it said. 

The last train is to be delivered in 2029 at the latest, with the new line-up to cost Deutsche Bahn around €2.5 billion.

Trying to get up to speed

The trains are urgently needed, said DB passenger transport board member Michael Peterson. “Reliability is not good at Deutsche Bahn at the moment,” and will “remain the case for a certain period of time”. 

READ ALSO: ‘A disaster’: How did train travel in Germany get so bad?

The reason for this, he said, is that Deutsche Bahn is working at full speed to modernise its rail system, which has led to several delays, rerouted services and in some cases cancellations.

In addition to the ICE 3neo, a total of almost 140 somewhat slower ICE 4s are set to join the fleet. 

According to Peterson, more than 450 ICE trains are set to join the network by the end of the decade – about 100 more than at present. 

Vocabulary

maximum speed – (die) Höchstgeschwindigkeit

wheelchair user – (der) Rohlstuhlfahrer

equipped – ausgestattet

reliability – (die) Verlässlichkeit

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

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