TUI Group has begun consultation on plans to sharply shrink the size of its airline fleet.
The plans would encompass the shrinking of the TUI fly Germany fleet from 39 to 17 Boeing 737-800 aircraft and the loss of 900 jobs in Germany (720 flight crew and 180 ground staff).
TUI also proposed the merger of the five airlines under one single company headquartered in Hanover, with fewer bases in Germany.
TUI fly Germany managing director, Oliver Lackmann, said: “There is no doubt that these are major changes and cutbacks for our employees and for the company.
“Nobody takes the decision lightly, neither I myself as managing director and flight captain nor the supervisory board.
“But the TUI fly fleet is too large for the customer base of our German TUI tour operator.
“We must reduce this fleet and work more closely together within the five airlines of the group.
“Otherwise, as a premium provider of holiday flights, we will further increase our competitive disadvantage over other airlines.”
TUI fly said it had the support of the supervisory board for restructuring plans, as well as a mandate to negotiate with works councils and trade unions.
An existing employment guarantee until the end of 2021 for all German TUI companies remains in place, the carrier added.
Speaking after the meeting of the supervisory board of TUI fly in Hanover, Lackmann added: “Even before the corona pandemic, the German airline market was characterised by considerable overcapacity and a fierce price competition.
“The corona pandemic has led to severe disruptions in the airline sector, especially for holiday flyers.
“The regular business of TUI fly has come to a complete standstill since mid-March.
“According to forecasts, air traffic in the coming year will still be significantly lower than the volume in 2019.
“Even in the peak season, the TUI fly fleet was not able to achieve a cost-covering occupancy rate before corona.
“In the past, between 14 and seven aircraft with crews were permanently leased to airBerlin and later to Eurowings.
“These were thus aircraft and seats which we as a tour operator were unable to fill with our own customers.
“The situation has now become even more difficult due to the pandemic.
“In the long-term interests of all employees of our airline - and in the interests of TUI as a whole - we must make TUI fly fit for the future.”
TUI fly will continue to be based in Hanover, while Hanover and Düsseldorf will remain the largest bases of the fleet.