Deutsche Lufthansa AG
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded6 January 1953; 69 years ago (1953-01-06)[note 1]
Commenced operations1 April 1955; 66 years ago (1955-04-01)
Frequent-flyer programMiles & More
AllianceStar Alliance
Fleet size263
Parent companyLufthansa Group
Traded asFWBLHA
MDAX Component
HeadquartersCologne, Germany
Key peopleCarsten Spohr,
(Chairman & CEO)
RevenueIncrease 36.42 billion (2019)[6]
Operating incomeDecrease €2.0 billion (2019)[6]
Net incomeDecrease €1.21 billion (2019)[6]
Total assetsIncrease €42.66 billion (2019)[6]
Total equityIncrease €10.15 billion (2019)[6]
Employees138,353 (2019)[6]

Deutsche Lufthansa AG (German pronunciation: [ˌdɔʏtʃə ˈlʊfthanzaː]), commonly shortened to Lufthansa, is the flag carrier and largest airline of Germany which, when combined with its subsidiaries, is the second-largest airline in Europe in terms of passengers carried.[7][8] The name of the former flag carrier[9] is derived from the German word Luft meaning "air" and Hansa for the Hanseatic League. Lufthansa is one of the five founding members of Star Alliance, the world's largest airline alliance, formed in 1997.[10] The company slogan is 'Say yes to the world.'[11]

Besides its own services, and owning subsidiary passenger airlines Austrian Airlines, Swiss International Air Lines, Brussels Airlines, and Eurowings (referred to in English by Lufthansa as its Passenger Airline Group), Deutsche Lufthansa AG owns several aviation-related companies, such as Lufthansa Technik and LSG Sky Chefs, as part of the Lufthansa Group. In total, the group has over 700 aircraft, making it one of the largest airline fleets in the world.[12]

Lufthansa's registered office and corporate headquarters are in Cologne. The main operations base, called Lufthansa Aviation Center, is at Lufthansa's primary hub at Frankfurt Airport,[13][14][15] and its secondary hub is at Munich Airport where a secondary Flight Operations Centre is maintained.[16]


1950s: Post-war (re-)formation

Revenue Passenger-Kilometers, scheduled flights only, in millions
Year Traffic
1955 78
1960 1,284
1965 3,785
1969 6,922
1971 8,610
1975 13,634
1980 21,056
1989 36,133
1995 61,602
2000 94,170
Source: ICAO Digest of Statistics for 1955, IATA World Air Transport Statistics 1960-2000
Lufthansa's first aircraft, a Convair 340 (type pictured), was delivered in August 1954.
Lufthansa's first aircraft, a Convair 340 (type pictured), was delivered in August 1954.

Lufthansa traces its history to 1926 when Deutsche Luft Hansa A.G. (styled as Deutsche Lufthansa from 1933 onwards) was formed in Berlin.[3] DLH, as it was known, was Germany's flag carrier until 1945 when all services were terminated following the defeat of Nazi Germany; it has since been demonstrated that Deutsche Luft Hansa relied on the use of forced labor and housed forced laborers on the site of Tempelhof airport.[17][18] In an effort to create a new national airline, a company called Aktiengesellschaft für Luftverkehrsbedarf (Luftag),[1] was founded in Cologne on 6 January 1953, with many of its staff having worked for the pre-war Lufthansa; this included Kurt Weigelt, a Nazi convicted of war crimes, who served on the board on the new Lufthansa, and Kurt Knipfer, a member of the Nazi party from 1929 who led Luft Hansa from 1933 to 1945.[19][20]

West Germany had not yet been granted sovereignty over its airspace, so it was not known when the new airline could become operational. Nevertheless, in 1953 Luftag placed orders for four Convair CV-340s and four Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellations and set up a maintenance base at Hamburg Airport.[1][2] On 6 August 1954, Luftag acquired the name and logo of the liquidated Deutsche Lufthansa for DM 30,000 (equivalent to €38000 today),[2] thus continuing the tradition of a German flag carrier of that name.

Lufthansa Lockheed L-1049G Super Constellation operating a transatlantic scheduled service from Hamburg to Montreal and Chicago in May 1956
Lufthansa Lockheed L-1049G Super Constellation operating a transatlantic scheduled service from Hamburg to Montreal and Chicago in May 1956

On 1 April 1955 Lufthansa won approval to start scheduled domestic flights,[2] linking Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Cologne, and Munich.[21] International flights started on 15 May 1955, to London, Paris, and Madrid,[21][22] followed by Super Constellation flights to New York City from 1 June of that year,[21] and across the South Atlantic from August 1956. In August 1958 fifteen Lufthansa 1049Gs and 1649s left Germany each week to Canada and the United States, three 1049Gs a week flew to South America, three flew to Tehran and one to Baghdad. In parallel, the airline also initiated a marketing campaign to sell itself and West Germany. The challenges involved encouraging travelers to consider visiting the country in the wake of World War II, as well as offering services to other nations via the Frankfurt airport hub. More specifically, Lufthansa's efforts shaped and reflected the development of a modern form of consumerism and advertising through the sale of air travel. By 1963, the airline, initially limited in its public relations efforts, had become a major purveyor of West Germany's image abroad.[23]

The special status of Berlin meant that Lufthansa was not allowed to fly to either part of Berlin until German reunification in 1990. Originally thought to be only a temporary matter (and with intentions to move the airline's headquarters and main base there once the political situation changed),[1] the Division of Germany turned out to be longer than expected, which gradually led to Frankfurt Airport becoming Lufthansa's primary hub.

East Germany tried to establish its airline in 1955 using the Lufthansa name, but this resulted in a legal dispute with West Germany, where Lufthansa was operating. East Germany instead established Interflug as its national airline in 1963, which coincided with the East German Lufthansa being shut down.[24]

1960s: Introduction of jetliners

In 1960, Lufthansa joined the jet age with the Boeing 707. The image shows a 707 at Hamburg Airport in 1984, shortly before the type was retired.
In 1960, Lufthansa joined the jet age with the Boeing 707. The image shows a 707 at Hamburg Airport in 1984, shortly before the type was retired.
A Lufthansa Boeing 727-100 approaching Heathrow Airport in 1978.
A Lufthansa Boeing 727-100 approaching Heathrow Airport in 1978.

In 1958 Lufthansa ordered four Boeing 707s and started jet flights from Frankfurt to New York City in March 1960. Boeing 720Bs were later bought to back up the 707 fleets. In February 1961 Far East routes were extended beyond Bangkok, Thailand, to Hong Kong and Tokyo. Lagos, Nigeria, and Johannesburg, South Africa were added in 1962.

Lufthansa introduced the Boeing 727 in 1964 and that May began the Polar route from Frankfurt to Tokyo via Anchorage. In February 1965 the company ordered twenty-one Boeing 737s that went into service in 1968. Lufthansa was the first customer for the Boeing 737 and was one of four buyers of the 737-100s (the others were NASA, Malaysia-Singapore Airlines, and Avianca – while the NASA airframe was the first built, it was the last delivered and originally intended for delivery to Lufthansa). Lufthansa was the first foreign launch customer for a Boeing airliner.

1970s–1980s: The wide-body era

The wide-body era for Lufthansa started with a Boeing 747 flight on 26 April 1970. It was followed by the introduction of the DC-10-30 on 12 November 1973, and the first Airbus A300 in 1976. In 1979 Lufthansa and Swissair became launch customers for the Airbus A310 with an order for twenty-five aircraft.

The company's fleet modernization programme for the 1990s began on 29 June 1985, with an order for fifteen Airbus A320s and seven Airbus A300-600s. Ten Boeing 737-300s were ordered a few days later. All were delivered between 1987 and 1992. Lufthansa also bought Airbus A321, Airbus A340, and Boeing 747-400 aircraft.

In 1987 Lufthansa, together with Air France, Iberia, and Scandinavian Airlines, founded Amadeus, an IT company (also known as a GDS) that would enable travel agencies to sell the founders and other airlines' products from a single system.

Lufthansa adopted a new corporate identity in 1988. The fleet was given a new livery, while cabins, city offices, and airport lounges were redesigned.

1990s–2000s: Further expansion

Lufthansa was the launch customer of the Boeing 737, the best-selling jet airliner for long time until replaced by Airbus A320 in late 2019.[25] The image shows an original 737-100 at Hannover Airport in 1968.
Lufthansa was the launch customer of the Boeing 737, the best-selling jet airliner for long time until replaced by Airbus A320 in late 2019.[25] The image shows an original 737-100 at Hannover Airport in 1968.
Lufthansa operated the high-capacity Airbus A300-600 on domestic and European routes until 2009. The image shows an aircraft of that type on final approach at Frankfurt Airport in 2003.
Lufthansa operated the high-capacity Airbus A300-600 on domestic and European routes until 2009. The image shows an aircraft of that type on final approach at Frankfurt Airport in 2003.

On 28 October 1990, 25 days after reunification, Berlin became a Lufthansa destination again. On 18 May 1997, Lufthansa, Air Canada, Scandinavian Airlines, Thai Airways International, and United Airlines formed Star Alliance, the world's first multilateral airline alliance.

In 1999, Lufthansa participated in the German Business Foundation initiative addressing class action lawsuits against German companies for World War II-era misdeeds, including the use of forced labor, by reportedly paying 10s of millions German marks.[26] The same year, Lufthansa commissioned the scholar Lutz Budrass to investigate the use of forced labor by its predecessor company, Deutsche Luft Hansa, during World War II; it declined to publish Dr. Budrass's resulting study for more than a decade.[26]

In 2000, Air One became a Lufthansa partner airline and nearly all Air One flights were code-shared with Lufthansa until Alitalia purchased Air One. Lufthansa has a good track record for posting profits, even in 2001, after 9/11, the airline suffered a significant loss in profits but still managed to stay 'in the black'. While many other airlines announced layoffs (typically 20% of their workforce), Lufthansa retained its current workforce.[27]

On 6 December 2001, Lufthansa announced an order for 15 Airbus A380 superjumbos with 10 more options, which was confirmed on 20 December. The A380 fleet would be used for long-haul flights from Frankfurt exclusively.

In June 2003, Lufthansa opened Terminal 2 at Munich's Franz Josef Strauß Airport to relieve its main hub, Frankfurt, which was suffering from capacity constraints. It is one of the first terminals in Europe partially owned by an airline.

On 17 May 2004, Lufthansa became the launch customer for the Connexion by Boeing in-flight online connectivity service.[28]

In autumn 2003, the implementation of a new sales strategy initiated by then-incumbent Executive Vice President Thierry Antinori to make the company fit for the digital era led to the abolition of commission payments for travel agencies and led to a revolution in the German travel business with many travel agencies disappearing from the market on the one hand, and the rise of new digital distribution platforms on the other hand.[29]

On 22 March 2005, Swiss International Air Lines was purchased by Lufthansa's holding company. The acquisition included the provision that the majority shareholders (the Swiss government and large Swiss companies) be offered payment if Lufthansa's share price outperforms an airline index during the years following the merger. The two companies will continue to be run separately.

On 6 December 2006, Lufthansa placed an order for 20 Boeing 747-8s, becoming the launch customer of the passenger model. The airline is also the second European airline to operate the Airbus A380 (after Air France). The first A380 was delivered on 19 May 2010, while the first 747-8 entered service in 2012.[30]

In September 2008, Lufthansa Group announced its intent to purchase a stake in Brussels Airlines (SN). In June 2009, the EU Commission granted regulatory approval and Lufthansa acquired 45% of SN.[31] In September 2016, Lufthansa announced it would purchase the remainder of Brussels Airlines for €2.6 million euros.[32] The transaction was completed in early January 2017.[33] The decision was partially taken after the Brussels airport bombings of March 2016, which caused SN to lose almost €5 million per day until 3 April.

In September 2009, Lufthansa purchased Austrian Airlines with the approval of the European Commission.[34]

On 11 June 2010, Airbus A380 service between Frankfurt and Tokyo (Narita) started.[35]

2010s: Belt-tightening

A Boeing 747-8I and Airbus A380-800 of Lufthansa at Frankfurt Airport. The A380 and 747-8, together with the recently introduced Airbus A350, form the backbone for Lufthansa's long-haul routes.
A Boeing 747-8I and Airbus A380-800 of Lufthansa at Frankfurt Airport. The A380 and 747-8, together with the recently introduced Airbus A350, form the backbone for Lufthansa's long-haul routes.

After a loss of 381 million euros in the first quarter of 2010 and another 13 million loss in the year 2011 due to the economic recession and restructuring costs, Deutsche Lufthansa AG cut 3,500 administrative positions or around 20 percent of the clerical total of 16,800.[36] In 2012, Lufthansa announced a restructuring program called SCORE to improve its operating profit. As a part of the restructuring plan, the company started to transfer all short-haul flights outside its hubs in Frankfurt, Munich, and Düsseldorf to the company's re-branded low-cost carrier Germanwings.[37]

In September 2013, Lufthansa Group announced its biggest order, for 59 wide-body aircraft valued more than 14 billion euros at list prices. Earlier in the same year, Lufthansa placed an order for 100 next-generation narrow-body aircraft.[38]

The group has had a long-standing dispute with the Vereinigung Cockpit union which has demanded a scheme in which pilots can retire at the age of 55, and 60% of their pay be retained, which Lufthansa insists is no longer affordable. Lufthansa pilots were joined by pilots from the group's budget carrier Germanwings to stage a nationwide strike in support of their demands in April 2014 which lasted three days. The pilots staged a six-hour strike at the end of the summer holidays in September 2014, which caused the cancellation of 200 Lufthansa flights and 100 Germanwings flights.[39]

During the course of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, part of the fleet was branded "Fanhansa".[40]

In November 2014, Lufthansa signed an outsourcing deal worth $1.25 billion with IBM that will see the US company take over the airline's IT infrastructure services division and staff.[41]

In June 2015, Lufthansa announced plans to close its small long-haul base at Düsseldorf Airport for economic reasons by October 2015. At the time, the base consisted of two Airbus A340-300s rotating between Newark and Chicago. As a result, service to Chicago from Düsseldorf was first made seasonal, suspended for the winter 2015 season, and then canceled altogether.[42] Service to Newark, however, has been maintained. From the winter 2015 schedule through the end of the winter 2016 schedule, Düsseldorf was served by aircraft which also flew the Munich-Newark route. The Düsseldorf-Newark route ended on 30 November 2018, which was operated with an Airbus A330-300 aircraft.[43] Their base was officially closed in March 2019.[44][45]

A Lufthansa A321neo in Reykjavik
A Lufthansa A321neo in Reykjavik

On 22 March 2016, Lufthansa ended Boeing 737-500 operations.[46] The airline's last Boeing 737 (a 737-300) was retired on 29 October 2016, after a flight from Milan to Frankfurt. Lufthansa operated the 737 in several variants for almost 50 years, the first aircraft having been delivered on 27 December 1967.[47]

On 4 December 2017, Lufthansa became the first European airline to receive the Skytrax 5 star certification.[48] As stated by Skytrax, a key factor in the positive rating was the announcement of a new Business Class cabin and seating that was expected to be introduced in 2020.[49] While this makes Lufthansa the 10th airline to be holding this award, in reality the 5th star was given to a product that was supposed to be introduced two years after the evaluation.[50] In celebration, Lufthansa painted an Airbus A320 and a Boeing 747-8 in the "5 Starhansa" livery.[51]

In March 2018, Lufthansa and other airlines like British Airways and American Airlines accepted a request from Beijing to list Taiwan as part of China.[52]

In March 2019 Lufthansa ordered 20 Boeing 787-9 and an additional 20 Airbus A350-900 for its own and the group's fleet replacement and expansion. Also, the airline announced it would sell six A380 aircraft back to Airbus, beginning in 2022.

15 aircraft of Lufthansa that are parked at Berlin Brandenburg Airport on 21 March 2020 due to the cancellation of 95 percent of all flights of the airline on 19 March 2020
15 aircraft of Lufthansa that are parked at Berlin Brandenburg Airport on 21 March 2020 due to the cancellation of 95 percent of all flights of the airline on 19 March 2020

2020s: COVID-19 pandemic and recovery

On 19 March 2020 Lufthansa cancelled 95 percent of all flights due to a travel ban because of the COVID-19 pandemic.[53] Consequently, the airline incurred losses of 1 million euros per hour by April 2020. While Lufthansa reduced its costs throughout 2020, continuing health risks and travel restrictions still caused hourly losses of approximately 500,000 euros on average at the beginning of 2021.[54]

On 14 May, Lufthansa's Hans DeHaan said the airline would resume flights between Toronto and Frankfurt as of 3 June. Flights were banned on all international non-essential travel between Canada and the European Union. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lufthansa operated 64 weekly flights between the two countries. The airline's recovery plans involve high-density cargo to replace paying customers. The Lufthansa Group airlines now require all passengers to wear a mask while aboard.[55]

On 26 June, Deutsche Lufthansa AG shareholders voted in favour of accepting the capital measures and the participation of the Economic Stabilisation Fund (WSF) of the Federal Republic of Germany in Deutsche Lufthansa AG.[56] In total, Lufthansa received about 9 billion euros in government assistance that summer.[57]

In January 2021, Lufthansa CEO Spohr announced that the entire currently stored Airbus A340-600 fleet will be retired with immediate effect and not return to service anymore.[58]

In June 2021, Lufthansa said it wants to repay state aid it received during the pandemic before Germany's federal election in September 2021 if possible.[59]

In June 2021, Lufthansa said it would change its communications to adopt a more gender-neutral and inclusive language. It will remove greetings such as "Ladies and Gentlemen".[60]

In January 2022 Lufthansa admitted that they had flown over 18,000 empty flights to keep airport slots during the pandemic.[61]

Corporate affairs


Lufthansa was a state-owned enterprise (and flag carrier) until 1994.[62] Deutsche Lufthansa AG shares have been publicly traded on all German stock exchanges since 1966. In addition to floor trading, it is also traded electronically using the Xetra system. It is a DAX index share and is listed in the German Stock Exchange's Prime Standard.[63] At the end of 2019, the shareholders’ register showed that German investors held 67.3% of the shares (previous year: 72.1%). The second-largest group, with 10.4%, was shareholders from Luxembourg. Investors from the US accounted for 8.1%, followed by Ireland and the United Kingdom, each with 3.6%. This ensures compliance with the provisions of the German Aviation Compliance Documentation Act (LuftNaSiG). As of the reporting date, 58% of the shares were held by institutional investors (previous year: 53%), and 42% were held by private individuals (previous year: 47%). Lansdowne Partners International Ltd. and BlackRock, Inc. were the largest shareholders in the Lufthansa Group at year-end, with 4.9% and 3.1% respectively. All the transactions requiring disclosure and published during the financial year 2019, as well as the quarterly updates on the shareholder structure, are available online. During the 2020 COVID crisis Heinz Hermann Thiele increased his stake to more than 12%; he died a few months later. The free float for Lufthansa shares was 67% in 2020, as per the definition of the Deutsche Börse.

German Government Bail-out

The German government offered a €9 billion bailout to support the airline through COVID-19 induced economic issues. With this bailout, the government's stake in the airline increased to 20%, and also grant it board seats, while diluting existing shareholder stakes.[64] The shareholders of the company approved the bailout on Thursday, June 26, offering the airline a fresh lease of life.[65]

Business trends

Key business and operating results of the Lufthansa Group for recent years are shown below (as at year ending 31 December):

2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Turnover (€ m) 22,283 27,324 28,734 30,135 30,027 30,011 32,056 31,660 35,579 35,542 36,424 13,589
Net profit/loss (€ m) −43 1,131 −13 990 313 55 1,698 1,776 2,364 2,163 1,213 −6,725
Number of employees (k at year end) 117.5 117.0 116.4 117.0 118.3 118.8 120.7 124.3 129.4 135.5 138.4 110.1
Number of passengers (m) 77.3 91.2 100.5 103.1 104.6 106.0 107.7 109.7 130.0 141.9 145.3 36.4
Passenger load factor (%) 77.9 79.3 77.6 78.8 79.8 80.1 80.4 79.1 80.9 81.5 82.6 63.2
Cargo load factor (%) 60.6 68.0 66.8 66.9 69.1 69.9 66.3 66.6 69.3 66.6 61.4 69.6
Number of aircraft (at year end) 722 710 636 627 622 615 602 617 728 763 763 757
Notes/sources [66] [66] [66] [66] [66] [66] [66] [66][67] [66] [66] [66] [a][68]
  1. ^ 2020: Activities and income in fiscal 2020 were severely reduced by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic


Lufthansa's headquarters in Deutz, Cologne.
Lufthansa's headquarters in Deutz, Cologne.

Lufthansa's corporate headquarters are in Cologne. In 1971, Lawrence Fellows of The New York Times described the then-new headquarters building that Lufthansa occupied in Cologne as "gleaming".[69] In 1986, terrorists bombed the building.[70] No one was injured.[71] In 2006, builders laid the first stone of the new Lufthansa headquarters in Deutz, Cologne. By the end of 2007, Lufthansa planned to move 800 employees, including the company's finance department, to the new building.[72] However, in early 2013 Lufthansa revealed plans to relocate its head office from Cologne to Frankfurt by 2017.[73]

Several Lufthansa departments are not at the headquarters; instead they are in the Lufthansa Aviation Center at Frankfurt Airport. These departments include Corporate Communications,[74] Investor Relations,[75] and Media Relations.[76]

Airline subsidiaries

Lufthansa Group passenger fleet size including subsidiaries and excluding cargo (wholly owned)
Lufthansa Group passenger fleet size including subsidiaries and excluding cargo (wholly owned)
The Lufthansa Aviation Center at Frankfurt Airport.
The Lufthansa Aviation Center at Frankfurt Airport.
The hangar of Lufthansa Technik at Frankfurt Airport.
The hangar of Lufthansa Technik at Frankfurt Airport.
A Lufthansa advertisement in Lisbon.
A Lufthansa advertisement in Lisbon.

In addition to its main passenger operation, Lufthansa has several airline subsidiaries, including:[77]

Wholly owned by Lufthansa
Partly owned by Lufthansa
Former subsidiaries (years owned)

Other subsidiaries

In addition to the airlines mentioned above, Lufthansa maintains further aviation affiliated subsidiaries:[77]

Brand history

A Lufthansa Airbus A350-900 XWB painted in the airline's latest livery
A Lufthansa Airbus A350-900 XWB painted in the airline's latest livery
An Airbus A319-100 of Lufthansa in the post-2018 livery. The stylised crane has been kept.
An Airbus A319-100 of Lufthansa in the post-2018 livery. The stylised crane has been kept.

The Lufthansa logo, an encircled stylized crane in flight, was first created in 1918 by Otto Firle. It was part of the livery of the first German airline, Deutsche Luft-Reederei (abbreviated DLR), which began air service on 5 February 1919. In 1926, Deutsche Luft Hansa adopted this symbol, and in 1954, Lufthansa expressed continuity by adopting it and later in 1963 – a variant thereof as redesigned by Robert Lisovskyi.

The original creator of the name Lufthansa is believed to be F.A. Fischer von Puturzyn. In 1925, he published a book entitled "Luft-Hansa" which examined the options open to aviation policymakers at the time. Luft Hansa was the name given to the new airline, which resulted from the merger of Junkers' airline (Luftverkehr AG) and Deutscher Aero Lloyd.[82]

After World War II, the company kept blue and yellow as its main colours and the crane logo. Since the beginning of the 1960s, Helvetica was used for the company name in the livery. The 1970s retro livery featured the top half of the fuselage painted in all-white on top and the lower fuselage (bottom half, including the engines) was gray/silver aluminium, below a blue cheatline window band and a black painted nose. The crane logo was painted blue on the engines, on the bottom half of the fuselage just below the cockpit windows, and a yellow circle inside a blue band on the tail.

German designer Otl Aicher created a comprehensive corporate design for the airline in 1967. The crane logo was now always displayed in a circle which, on the livery, was yellow on an otherwise blue tailfin. Helvetica was used as the main typeface for both the livery and publications. The blue band and general paint scheme of the aircraft were retained from the previous livery.

Aicher's concept was retained in the 1988 design. The window band was removed and the fuselage was painted in grey.

In 2018, Lufthansa refreshed their livery. The encircled crane was retained, however, the background was changed from yellow to dark blue. The vertical stabilizer and the rear fuselage was all painted in dark blue, with the tail cone remained white. The main fuselage was painted in all white, and the brand name "Lufthansa" was painted above the windows, also in dark blue.

Alliances and partnerships

The Lufthansa First Class lounge at Frankfurt Airport
The Lufthansa First Class lounge at Frankfurt Airport


Lufthansa bought a 19% stake in JetBlue Airways in December 2007 and entered a code-sharing agreement with the airline. It was the first major investment by a European carrier in an American carrier since the EU–U.S. Open Skies Agreement came into effect in 2008. Lufthansa sold its stake in JetBlue in March 2015.

In late 2007, Lufthansa Cargo was forced to relocate a hub from Kazakhstan to Russia.

On 28 August 2008, Lufthansa and Brussels Airlines announced that they were negotiating joining together.[83]

Lufthansa acquired a 45% stake in Brussels Airlines in 2009. It has an option to acquire the remaining 55% by 2017. As a part of the deal Brussels Airlines joined Star Alliance in December 2009.[84][85][86]

On 28 October 2008, Lufthansa exercised its option to purchase a further 60% share in BMI (in addition to the 20% Lufthansa already owned), this resulted in a dispute with the former owner Sir Michael Bishop. Both parties reached an agreement at the end of June 2009, and the acquisition took place with effect from 1 July 2009.[87] Lufthansa acquired the remaining 20% from Scandinavian Airlines on 1 November 2009, taking complete control of BMI.[88]

Lufthansa completed the purchase of Austrian Airlines from the Austrian government in January 2009.

In 2010, Lufthansa was named in a European Commission investigation into price-fixing, but was not fined because it acted as a whistleblower.[89]

In April 2012, Lufthansa completed the sale of BMI to International Airlines Group (IAG), owner of British Airways and Iberia for £172.5 million.

In July 2012, a Qantas–Lufthansa Technik maintenance deal for Tullamarine airport fell through due to having insufficient engine maintenance work to support the partnership. This resulted in 164 engineers being made redundant. This followed just months after the closing of heavy maintenance operations, which resulted in 400 additional job losses. It was announced that the Lufthansa Technik–Qantas partnership would end in September.[90]

Lufthansa also coordinates scheduling and ticket sales on transatlantic flights with Air Canada and United Airlines (as do Brussels Airlines, Swiss and Austrian Airlines). Lufthansa (with Swiss and Austrian Airlines) cooperates similarly with ANA on flights to Japan. Both ventures required the approval of competition authorities.


Until April 2009 Lufthansa inventory and departure control systems, based on Unisys were managed by LH Systems. Lufthansa reservations systems were outsourced to Amadeus in the early 1990s. Following a decision to outsource all components of the Passenger Service System, the functions were outsourced to the Altéa platform managed by Amadeus.

Partner airlines

Lufthansa describes Air Malta, Luxair, and LATAM as partner airlines. The partnerships mainly involve code-sharing and recognition of each other's frequent flier programmes.


Lufthansa sponsors Bundesliga club Eintracht Frankfurt.[91] The Lufthansa Group also sponsors the German Sports Aid Foundation - promoting its sociopolitical goals and the athletes it sponsors.[92]


Main article: List of Lufthansa destinations

Codeshare agreements

Lufthansa codeshares with the following airlines:[93][94]

LH Part of the Lufthansa Group.


Main article: Lufthansa fleet

Aircraft naming conventions

In September 1960, a Lufthansa Boeing 707 (D-ABOC), which would serve the Frankfurt-New York intercontinental route, was christened Berlin after the divided city of Berlin by then-mayor Willy Brandt. Following Berlin, other Lufthansa 707 planes were named "Hamburg", "Frankfurt", "München", and "Bonn." With these names, the company established a tradition of naming the planes in its fleet after German cities and towns or federal states, with a rule of thumb that the airplane make, size, or route would correspond roughly to the relative size or importance of the city or town it was named after.

This tradition continued, with two notable exceptions, until 2010: The first was an Airbus A340-300 registered D-AIFC, named "Gander/Halifax", after Gander and Halifax, two Canadian cities along the standard flight path from Europe to North America. It became the first Lufthansa airplane named after a non-German city. The name commemorates the hospitality of the communities of Gander and Halifax, which served as improvised safe havens for the passengers and crew of the multitude of international aircraft unable to return to their originating airports during Operation Yellow Ribbon after the September 11, 2001 attacks. The other aircraft not named after a German city was an Airbus A321-100 registered as D-AIRA, which was designated Finkenwerder in honor of the Airbus facility in the district of Hamburg-Finkenwerder,[101] where about 40% of Airbus narrowbody models are manufactured.

In February 2010, Lufthansa announced that its first two Airbus A380s would be named Frankfurt am Main (D-AIMA) and München (D-AIMB) after Lufthansa's two hub airports. Subsequent A380 aircraft were named after other Lufthansa Group hub airports Zurich, Wien (Vienna) and Brüssel (Brussels) and the major German cities of Düsseldorf and Berlin. The remaining A380s were named after Star Alliance hub cities Tokyo, Beijing, Johannesburg, New York, San Francisco and Delhi. However, D-AIMN San Francisco was renamed Deutschland (Germany) in 2016.[101]

As of 2016, there are several short- and long-haul aircraft in Lufthansa's fleet that do not bear any name. They either never received one or their former one has been given to a newer aircraft, which was the case for several Boeing 747-400s. For example, the former Bayern (Bavaria), a Boeing 747-400 still in active service lost that name to a new Boeing 747-8I.[101]

Vintage aircraft restoration

Lufthansa Technik, the airline's maintenance arm, restored a Junkers Ju 52/3m built in 1936 to airworthiness; this aircraft was in use on the 10-hour Berlin to Rome route, across the Alps, in the 1930s. Lufthansa is now restoring a Lockheed Super Constellation, using parts from three such aircraft bought at auctions. Lufthansa's Super Constellations and L1649 "Starliners" served routes such as Hamburg-Madrid-Dakar-Caracas-Santiago. Lufthansa Technik recruits retired employees and volunteers for skilled labour.[102][103]

Airbus A380

Lufthansa had initially ordered a total of 15 Airbus A380-800, of which by June 2012 ten were delivered. In September 2011, the order was increased by two more to 17, this order was confirmed on 14 March 2013. However, in September 2013 it was announced that the Lufthansa Supervisory Board had approved the purchase of only twelve of the first 15 A380s. Thus, a total of 14 A380s have been added to the fleet.

Lufthansa uses its A380s from and to Frankfurt am Main (9 aircraft) and since March 2018 to and from Munich as well (5 aircraft). From 6 to 12 December 2011, Lufthansa already used an A380 once a day on the route from Munich to New York-JFK. This happened mainly against the backdrop of Christmas shopping in New York City.

On 13 March 2019, Lufthansa announced that it will be removing 6 A380 aircraft from the fleet and replacing them with Boeing 787-9 and Airbus A350-900 aircraft.[104]

On 8 March 2020, Lufthansa announced that it would be grounding all of its A380 aircraft due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[105][106][107]


Frequent-flyer programme

Main article: Miles & More

Lufthansa's frequent-flyer programme is called Miles & More, and is shared among several European airlines, including all of Lufthansa's subsidiary airlines (excluding the SunExpress joint ventures), plus Adria Airways, Condor Flugdienst (formerly owned by Lufthansa), Croatia Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, and Luxair (stake formerly held by Lufthansa).[108] Miles & More members may earn miles on Lufthansa flights and Star Alliance partner flights, as well as through Lufthansa credit cards, and purchases made through the Lufthansa shops. Status within Miles & More is determined by miles flown during one calendar year with specific partners. Membership levels include: Miles & More member (no minimal threshold), Frequent Traveller (Silver, 35,000-mile (56,000 km) threshold or 30 individual flights), Senator (Gold, 100,000-mile (160,000 km) threshold), and HON Circle (Black, 600,000-mile (970,000 km) threshold over two calendar years). All Miles & More status levels higher than Miles & More member offer lounge access and executive bonus miles, with the higher levels offering more exclusive benefits.[109]


First Class

First Class on board one of Lufthansa's Boeing 747-8Is in a 1-2-1 layout.
First Class on board one of Lufthansa's Boeing 747-8Is in a 1-2-1 layout.

First Class is offered on most long-haul aircraft (all A340-600s, the front part of the upper deck of all Airbus A380s, and the main deck nose section of all Boeing 747-8Is). Each seat converts to a 2 metres (6 ft 7 in) bed, includes laptop power outlets, as well as entertainment facilities. Meals are available on demand. Lufthansa offers dedicated First Class check-in counters at most airports, and offers dedicated First Class lounges in Frankfurt and Munich, as well as a dedicated first-class terminal in Frankfurt. Arriving passengers have the option of using Lufthansa's First Class arrival facilities, as well as the new Welcome Lounge. Lufthansa has introduced a new First Class product aboard the Airbus A380 and plans to gradually introduce it on all of its long-haul aircraft.[110] With the new program SCORE, introduced to boost profits by 1.5 billion euros over the following years, LH will stop route expansion and extensively decrease its First Class offerings on most routes.[111][112] However, First Class will not be completely eliminated, as the company plans to introduce a new First Class cabin on the Airbus A350-900 or Boeing 777-9, with a primary focus on privacy. However, the new first class will not be on the first few 777-9s, since those will not have any first class cabin.

Business Class

Business Class in a 2-2 layout on the upper deck of a Boeing 747-8I. Business Class on all of the airline's other wide-body aircraft has a 2-2-2 layout.
Business Class in a 2-2 layout on the upper deck of a Boeing 747-8I. Business Class on all of the airline's other wide-body aircraft has a 2-2-2 layout.

Business Class is offered on all long-haul aircraft. Seats convert to 2 metres (6 ft 7 in) lie-flat beds and include laptop power outlets and entertainment facilities.[113] Lufthansa offers dedicated Business Class check-in counters at all airports, as well as dedicated Business Class lounges at most airports, or contract lounges at other airports, as well as the Lufthansa Welcome Lounge upon arrival in Frankfurt. As of 2014, Business Class on all wide-body aircraft feature lie-flat seats.[114] Lufthansa released plans for a new business class set to be released in 2022 on either the Boeing 787-9 or Airbus A350-900, and will retrofit the rest of the fleet in the coming years.[115]

Premium Economy

Introduced in 2014,[116] Lufthansa's long-haul Premium Economy is being rolled out on all long-haul aircraft, starting with some Boeing 747-8Is. Similar in design to Air Canada's Premium Economy or British Airways' World Traveller Plus cabins, Premium Economy features 38-inch (970 mm) pitch along with up to 3 inches (76 mm) more width than economy class, depending on the aircraft. The seats also feature a 11 or 12 inches (280 or 300 mm) personal seat-back entertainment screen and a larger armrest separating seats. Along with the planned introduction of the Boeing 777-9X, the airline plans to add a new Premium Economy cabin with a "shell" design. These seats are also to be installed on SWISS' Boeing 777-300ERs and Airbus A340-300s from the first and second quarter of 2021, respectively.[117]

Economy Class

Economy Class on a 747-8I in a 3-4-3 layout.
Economy Class on a 747-8I in a 3-4-3 layout.

Lufthansa's long-haul Economy Class is offered on all long-haul aircraft. All have a 31-inch (790 mm) seat pitch except the Airbus A380s, which have a 33-inch (840 mm) seat pitch. Passengers receive meals, as well as free drinks. The whole fleet offers Audio-Video-On-Demand (AVOD) screens in Economy Class.

Airport lounges and terminals

The First Class Terminal at Frankfurt Airport.
The First Class Terminal at Frankfurt Airport.

Lufthansa operates four types of lounges within its destination network: First Class, Senator, Business, and Welcome Lounges. Each departure lounge is accessible both through travel class, or Miles and More/Star Alliance status; the Welcome Lounge is limited to arriving premium passengers of the Lufthansa Group and United Airlines only.[118]

Lufthansa also operates a dedicated first class terminal at Frankfurt Airport. The first terminal of its kind, access is limited only to departing Lufthansa First Class, same day Lufthansa Group first class and HON Circle members. Approximately 200 staff care for approximately 300 passengers per day in the terminal, which features a full-service restaurant, full bar, cigar lounge, relaxation rooms, and offices, as well as bath facilities. Guests are driven directly to their departing flight by Mercedes S-Class or V-Class, or Porsche Cayenne or Panamera vehicles.

Bus service

Lufthansa previously operated a check-in point in the city limits of Nuremberg and a bus service from Nuremberg to Munich Airport.[119]

Accidents and incidents

This is a list of accidents and incidents involving Lufthansa mainline aircraft since 1956. For earlier occurrences, refer to Deutsche Luft Hansa. For accidents and incidents on Lufthansa-branded flights which were operated by other airlines, see the respective articles (Lufthansa CityLine, Lufthansa Cargo, Contact Air, Germanwings, and Air Dolomiti).


D-ABYB, the aircraft destroyed in the Flight 540 accident, was the 2nd of 3 Boeing 747-100s delivered to Lufthansa.[123] It is seen here during a promotional event at Nuremberg Airport in 1970.
D-ABYB, the aircraft destroyed in the Flight 540 accident, was the 2nd of 3 Boeing 747-100s delivered to Lufthansa.[123] It is seen here during a promotional event at Nuremberg Airport in 1970.


Hijackings and criminal events


Employment relations

Relations between Lufthansa and their pilots have been very tense in the past years, with many strikes occurring, causing many flights to be cancelled, as well as major losses to the company.[147] A major dispute between Lufthansa and the pilot's union has been settled after nearly five years and overall 14 strikes in December 2017.[148]

Germanwings crisis management

Main article: Germanwings Flight 9525

Germanwings was a subsidiary of Lufthansa. Carsten Spohr, Lufthansa's CEO, oversaw the Germanwings Flight 9525 accident, "the darkest day for Lufthansa in its 60-year history".[149]

Nonetheless, damage control by Spohr and his team was poor according to several sources, as compared to other CEOs in the face of a major accident, with contradictory information given about the mental health and the airworthiness of the co-pilot Andreas Lubitz. It was revealed that Lubitz suffered from a severe case of depression and mental disorders and had intentionally crashed Germanwings Flight 9525 into the French Alps, killing all 150 aboard. Spohr had misleadingly said the co-pilot "was 100% airworthy without any restrictions, without any conditions".[150]

GDS surcharge

On 1 September 2015, Lufthansa implemented a 16 euro surcharge on Global Distribution System bookings. The surcharge is payable unless tickets are purchased directly from the airline's website, or at its service centres and ticket counters at the airport. In a statement responding to Lufthansa's strategy, Amadeus, a travel technology company, said the new model would make "comparison and transparency more difficult because travellers will now be forced to go to multiple channels to search for the best fares.[151] For the period between 1–14 September, the airline experienced a 16.1% drop in revenue, indicating to some that the new fee backfired, although the airline maintains the statement that the decrease was due to the pilot strike, and "other seasonal effects".[152]

Deportation flights

Activists from Germany have criticised Lufthansa for performing deportation flights on behalf of the German government.[153] In 2019, 4,573 people were deported on their planes, while their subsidiary Eurowings performed 1,312 deportations.[154] This totals more than 25% of deportations in Germany in 2019. At least two deportees perished during transport.[155]

Treatment of World War II-era past

Lufthansa has been criticized for lack of transparency about the use of more than 10,000 forced laborers, many of them children, by its predecessor company, Deutsche Luft Hansa, during World War II.[26][19]

Ghost flights

Lufthansa operated 18,000 empty or near-empty flights in winter 2021 to avoid losing take-off and landing rights at major airports.[156]

See also



  1. ^ The company that today is known as Deutsche Lufthansa AG was founded as Aktiengesellschaft für Luftverkehrsbedarf (Luftag) on 6 January 1953.[1] It sees itself in the tradition of Deutsche Lufthansa, the former German national airline that was founded in 1926 and liquidated in 1951, whose name and logo it acquired in 1954.[2] Lufthansa frequently names "1926" as its founding date, but it is not the legal successor of the earlier airline.[3]
  2. ^ Lufthansa also counts Düsseldorf Airport, Vienna International Airport and Zurich Airport as its hubs.[4] They are not listed here because they are home to Lufthansa's subsidiaries Eurowings, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, and Swiss International Air Lines, respectively. For the same reason, all other Eurowings bases are omitted.


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  146. ^ Flight 595 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 8 July 2011.
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  148. ^ "Lufthansa und Piloten: Die Streikhansa ist gelandet".
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  150. ^ "Lufthansa Chief Carsten Spohr Under Spotlight After Germanwings Crash". The Wall Street Journal. 1 April 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  151. ^ "Lufthansa to charge fee for GDS Bookings". 24 October 2015.
  152. ^ "Lufthansa disputes report that says GDS bookins are way down". 24 October 2015.
  153. ^ "Deportation class organized a campaign against Lufthansa's deportations".
  154. ^ "Number of people deported per airline company (page 14)" (PDF).
  155. ^ "Refugees died while on Lufthansa's deportation flight".
  156. ^ "Brussels Airlines operates 3,000 empty flights to keep airport slots". The Independent. 6 January 2022.


Media related to Lufthansa at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 50°56′15″N 006°58′11″E / 50.93750°N 6.96972°E / 50.93750; 6.96972