Deutsche Lufthansa AG
IATA ICAO Callsign
LH DLH LUFTHANSA
Founded6 January 1953 (1953-01-06)[note 1]
Commenced operations1 April 1955 (1955-04-01)
Hubs
Frequent-flyer programMiles & More
AllianceStar Alliance
Subsidiaries
Fleet size274
Destinations229
Parent companyLufthansa Group
Traded as
ISINDE0008232125
HeadquartersCologne, Germany
Key people
RevenueIncrease 15.6 billion (2023)[6]
Operating incomeIncrease €5.9 billion (2023)[6]
Net incomeIncrease €6.8 billion (2023)[6]
Total assetsIncrease €45.7 billion (2023)[6]
Total equityIncrease €11.6 billion (2023)[6]
EmployeesDecrease 96,677 (2023)[6]
Websitelufthansa.com

Deutsche Lufthansa AG (German pronunciation: [ˌdɔʏtʃə ˈlʊfthanzaː ʔaːˈɡeː] ) is the flag carrier of Germany.[12] When combined with its subsidiaries, it ranks second in Europe for passengers carried and the world's fourth-largest airline by revenue.[13][14] Lufthansa was founded in 1953 and commenced operations in April 1955.

Besides operating flights under its own brand, the Lufthansa Group also owns several other airlines, including Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Discover Airlines, Eurowings and Swiss International Air Lines. The group also owns several aviation-related companies, including Global Load Control, Lufthansa Consulting, Lufthansa Flight Training, Lufthansa Systems and Lufthansa Technik.

The company was founded as Aktiengesellschaft für Luftverkehrsbedarf (often shortened to Luftag) on 6 January 1953 by staff of the former Deutsche Luft Hansa, Germany's national airline founded in 1926. While Deutsche Luft Hansa played a significant role in the development of commercial aviation in Germany, it was liquidated in 1951 due to its association with the Nazi regime during World War II. Luftag adopted the branding of the former flag carrier by acquiring the Luft Hansa name and logo in 1954.

Lufthansa's corporate headquarters are in Cologne.[15] The main operations base, called Lufthansa Aviation Center, is located at Frankfurt Airport, the airline's primary hub.[16][17] It also maintains a secondary hub at Munich Airport, along with its Flight Operations Centre.[18] Lufthansa is a founding member of Star Alliance, the world's largest airline alliance established in 1997.[19][20]

History

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 traces its history to 1926 when Deutsche Luft Hansa was formed in Berlin by the merger of Deutscher Aero Lloyd and Junkers Luftverkehr.[3][21] Deutsche Luft Hansa was Germany's flag carrier until 1945 when all services were terminated following the defeat of Nazi Germany. Deutsche Luft Hansa was liquidated in 1951 due to its connections with the Nazi government. The airline's use of forced labor and housing laborers on the site of Berlin Tempelhof Airport during this period remains a dark stain on its history.[22][23]

In an effort to create a new national airline, a company called Aktiengesellschaft für Luftverkehrsbedarf (Luftag)[1] was founded in the city of Cologne in West Germany on 6 January 1953, with many of its staff having worked for the pre-war Deutsche Luft Hansa, including some with ties to the Nazi regime.[24][25]

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

West Germany had not yet been granted full 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-340 and four Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellations aircraft 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 €41,000 today),[2] thus continuing the tradition of a German flag carrier with that name.

On 1 April 1955, Lufthansa won approval to commence operation of scheduled domestic flights.[2] The airline's initial network linked Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Cologne, and Munich.[26] International flights started on 15 May 1955, to London, Paris, and Madrid,[26][27] followed by Super Constellation flights to New York City from 1 June of that year,[26] and across the South Atlantic from August 1956.

However, the political realities of the time presented challenges to the airline. The United States, Soviet Union, Britain and France did not allow Lufthansa to fly to any part of the divided Berlin during the division of Germany.[28][29] The airline had hoped this would only be a temporary matter and planned to move its headquarters and primary hub back to the German capital once the political situation changed, plans that ultimately never came to fruition.[1] Instead, Lufthansa turned Frankfurt Airport into its primary hub.

Lufthansa was not allowed until German reunification in 1990 as maintained the sole right to fly in Berlin's airspace since 1945 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 turned out to be longer than expected, which gradually led to Frankfurt Airport becoming Lufthansa's primary hub in 1958. The airline also embarked on a marketing campaign to encourage travelers to consider visiting West Germany as it rebuilt in the wake of World War II and to use its hub to connect to other locations across Europe. By 1963, the airline, initially limited in its public relations efforts, had become a major purveyor of West Germany's image abroad.[30]

During this time, East Germany attempted to establish its own "Lufthansa" airline in 1955, but legal challenges from the West German carrier led to its abandonment.  East Germany subsequently launched Interflug as its national carrier in 1963.[31]

1960s: Introduction of jetliners

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A Boeing 707 at Hamburg Airport in 1984, shortly before the type was retired.

Lufthansa embraced the jet age in 1958 by ordering four Boeing 707 aircraft. This marked a significant leap forward, allowing them to launch jet flights between Frankfurt and New York City in March 1960. To further bolster their jet fleet, Boeing 720B aircraft (a 707 derivative for shorter flights from shorter runways) were later acquired.

Lufthansa's network continued to expand throughout the early 1960s. In February 1961, their Far East routes extended beyond Bangkok to include Hong Kong and Tokyo. Africa saw additions in 1962 with Lagos, Nigeria, and Johannesburg, South Africa joining the network.

A Lufthansa Boeing 727-100 approaching Heathrow Airport in 1978

Innovation continued with the introduction of the Boeing 727 in 1964. This enabled Lufthansa to launch a pioneering Polar route from Frankfurt to Tokyo via Anchorage in May of that year. Further expansion plans were solidified in February 1965 with the order of twenty-one Boeing 737 aircraft, entering service in 1968.

Lufthansa was the launch customer of the Boeing 737. The image shows an original 737-100 at Hannover Airport in 1968.

Lufthansa's role in Boeing's history is noteworthy. They hold the distinction of being the first customer for the Boeing 737 and one of only four buyers of the initial 737-100 model (alongside NASA, Malaysia-Singapore Airlines, and Avianca). Interestingly, while NASA technically had the first built 737 airframe, it was ultimately delivered last and originally intended for Lufthansa, making them the first foreign launch customer for a Boeing airliner.

1970s–1980s: The wide-body era

Lufthansa operated the high-capacity Airbus A300-600 on domestic and European routes until 2009. The image shows an aircraft of that type approaching Frankfurt Airport in 2003.

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


Following German reunification on 3 October 1990, Lufthansa swiftly reintegrated Berlin into its network, marking the city's return as a key destination within 25 days.

The mid-1990s saw a period of strategic restructuring for Lufthansa. This involved the establishment of independent operating companies within the Lufthansa Group, specializing in areas like maintenance (Lufthansa Technik), cargo (Lufthansa Cargo), and information technology (Lufthansa Systems). Over time, the group further expanded through the addition of LSG Sky Chefs (catering), Condor (leisure travel), and Lufthansa CityLine (regional operations).[32]

Lufthansa joined Air Canada, Scandinavian Airlines, Thai Airways International, and United Airlines to form Star Alliance on 18 May 1997, the world's first multilateral airline alliance.

Lufthansa actively addressed its historical legacy during this period. In 1999, the airline participated in a German initiative aimed at resolving wartime misdeeds, acknowledging the use of forced labor by its predecessor, Deutsche Luft Hansa. As part of the initiative, Lufthansa also reportedly paid tens of millions German marks.[33] Additionally, a historical study was commissioned to shed light on this aspect of the company's past. However, Lufthansa was criticized for not the resulting study for more than a decade.[33]

The early 2000s witnessed Lufthansa demonstrate remarkable resilience in the face of industry challenges. Despite significant industry losses following the 11 September attacks, the airline maintained profitability and strategically avoided workforce reductions.[34] Lufthansa became the launch customer for the Connexion by Boeing in-flight internet connectivity in 2004.[35]

Lufthansa further solidified its position as a major European airline group through strategic acquisitions. The acquisitions of Swiss International Air Lines in 2005, Brussels Airlines (staged between 2009 and 2017),[36][37][38] and Austrian Airlines in 2009[39] expanded the group's reach and network capabilities.

A Boeing 747-8I and Airbus A380-800 of Lufthansa at Frankfurt Airport. The A380 and 747-8, together with the Airbus A350, formed the backbone for Lufthansa's long-haul routes in the 2010s.

At the end of the 2000s, Lufthansa made a large commitment to very large aircraft, introducing the first of 14 Airbus A380 in 2010 and becoming the becoming the launch customer for the Boeing 747-8I in 2012, eventually purchasing 19 of the type.[40]

2010s: Belt-tightening

After a loss of 298 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.[41] 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.[42]

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.[43]

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.[44]

During the course of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, part of the fleet was branded "Fanhansa".[45]

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.[46]

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.[47] Service to Newark, however, was initially 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.[48] Their base was officially closed in March 2019.[49][50]

On 22 March 2016, Lufthansa ended Boeing 737-500 operations.[51] 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.[52]

On 4 December 2017, Lufthansa became the first European airline to receive the Skytrax 5-star certification.[53] 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.[54] 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.[55] In celebration, Lufthansa painted an Airbus A320 and a Boeing 747-8 in the "5 Starhansa" livery.[56]

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.[57]

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.

2020s: COVID-19 pandemic and recovery

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

On 19 March 2020, Lufthansa cancelled 95 percent of all flights due to a travel ban because of the COVID-19 pandemic.[58] 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.[citation needed]

On 14 May, Lufthansa Group announced that it planned to operate 1,800 weekly flights by the end of June.[citation needed] The company's recovery plans involved high-density cargo to replace paying customers.[59] All Lufthansa Group required all passengers to wear a mask while aboard.[59]

On 25 June, Deutsche Lufthansa AG shareholders accepted a 9,000,000,000 bailout, consisting of capital measures and the participation of the Economic Stabilisation Fund (WSF) of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.[60][61][62][63] The measures, which passed after initial opposition by principal shareholder Heinz Hermann Thiele, gave the government a 20% stake in the airline.[64][65][66]

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.[67] This decision was later overturned, with several A340-600 aircraft returning to service in 2021 after several months in storage.[citation needed] 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.[68] Also 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".[69]

In January 2022, Lufthansa admitted it had operated over 18,000 empty flights to keep airport slots during the pandemic.[70]

In March 2022, Lufthansa originally confirmed that its entire Airbus A380 fleet would be retired, having been in storage since early 2020.[71] This decision was reversed in June 2022, with plans to now return up to five aircraft from storage by 2023 to be based at Munich Airport. There is also an option to return all remaining eight A380 back to service by 2024, as six of formerly 14 have already been sold.[72]

In May 2022, Skytrax demoted Lufthansa from its aforementioned 5-star rating which it held since 2017 as the first European carrier to do so, to an overall 4-star rating.[73]

In 2023, the airline was affected by an IT glitch, leaving thousands of passengers stranded around the world. According to the German air traffic control agency, the airlines flights were redirected from Frankfurt to other airports due to an IT glitch. The issue was reportedly caused after construction work cut through fiber optic cables in the city.[74][75]

In May 2023, Lufthansa Group announced an agreement with the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) to acquire a 41 per cent stake in ITA Airways. Part of the agreement allows Lufthansa to acquire the remaining shares at a later date.[76]

Corporate affairs

Ownership

Lufthansa was a state-owned enterprise until 1994.[77] 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 Frankfurt Stock Exchange's Prime Standard.[78] 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 granted it board seats, while diluting existing shareholder stakes. The shareholders of the company approved the bailout on Thursday, 26 June, offering the airline a fresh lease of life.[79]

Business trends

Key business and operating results of the Lufthansa Group for recent years are shown below (as at year ending 31 December):[80]

2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Turnover (€ b) 22.2 27.3 28.7 30.1 30.0 30.0 32.0 31.6 35.5 35.5 36.4 13.5 16.8 32.7 30.8
Net profit/loss (€ b) −0.04 1.1 −0.01 0.99 0.31 0.05 1.6 1.7 2.3 2.1 1.2 −6.7 −2.1 0.79 1.6
Number of employees (k at year end) 117 117 116 117 118 118 120 124 129 135 138 110 105 109 96.6
Number of passengers (m) 77.3 91.2 100 103 104 106 107 109 130 141 145 36.4 46.9 101 122
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 61.6 79.8 82.9
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 71.4 60.3 56.4
Number of aircraft (at year end) 722 710 636 627 622 615 602 617 728 763 763 757 713 710 721
Notes/sources [81] [81] [81] [81] [81] [81] [81] [81][82] [81] [81] [81] [a][15] [83] [84] [85]
  1. ^ 2020: Activities and income in fiscal 2020 were severely reduced by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic

The key trends for the airline Lufthansa are (as at year ending 31 December):[80]

2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Turnover (€ b) 15.4 16.4 15.8 16.6 4.1 5.0 13.1 16.1
Operating profit[a] (€ b) 1.6 2.1 1.7 1.1 −4.7 −2.5 −0.43 0.86
Number of employees (at year end) 34,126 33,779 34,754 39,582 37,741 35,738 34,408 36,707
Number of passengers (m) 62.4 65.8 69.8 72.4 17.9 23.5 51.7 60.2
Passenger load factor (%) 79.1 81.6 81.3 82.5 62.1 60.3 79.9 82.4
Number of aircraft (at year end) 350 357 351 364 421 389 386 381
Notes/sources [81][82] [81] [81] [81] [b][15] [83] [84] [85]
  1. ^ "EBIT"
  2. ^ 2020: Activities and income in fiscal 2020 were severely reduced by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic

Headquarters

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".[86] In 1986, left-wing terrorists bombed the building.[87] No one was injured.[88] 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.[89] However, in early 2013, Lufthansa revealed plans to relocate its head office from Cologne to Frankfurt by 2017.[90]

Several Lufthansa departments are not at the headquarters; instead, they are in the Lufthansa Aviation Center at Frankfurt Airport. These departments include Corporate Communications and Investor Relations.[91][92] The innovative high-tech and low-energy Aviation Center with a transparent facade and several indoor gardens was designed by Christoph Ingenhoven.[93]

Airline subsidiaries

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

In addition to its main passenger operation, Lufthansa has several airline subsidiaries, including:[15]

Wholly owned by Lufthansa

Partly owned by Lufthansa

Former

Other subsidiaries

In addition to the airlines mentioned above, Lufthansa maintains further aviation affiliated subsidiaries:[15]

Branding

A Lufthansa Airbus A320-200 in the old livery used since 1988
A Lufthansa Airbus A320neo in the livery adapted since 2018

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.[99]

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 changed their livery. The encircled crane was retained, and the background changed from yellow to dark blue. The vertical stabilizer and the rear fuselage were painted in dark blue, and 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.

The company slogan is 'Say yes to the world.'[100]

Alliances and partnerships

The Lufthansa First Class lounge at Frankfurt Airport

Commercial

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 a merger.[101]

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.[102][103][104]

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.[105] Lufthansa acquired the remaining 20% from Scandinavian Airlines on 1 November 2009, taking complete control of BMI.[106]

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.[107]

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.[108]

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.

Technology

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

Sponsorships

Lufthansa sponsors Bundesliga club Eintracht Frankfurt.[109] The Lufthansa Group also sponsors the German Sports Aid Foundation to promote its sociopolitical goals and the athletes it sponsors.[110]

Lufthansa Group

Lufthansa Group is a group of airlines owned by Lufthansa, namely Brussels Airlines, Swiss International Air Lines, Edelweiss (owned by Swiss International Air Lines), Air Dolomiti, Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa Cargo, Lufthansa CityLine, Eurowings, Discover Airlines, Germanwings (until 2020), and, plans to take a stake in ITA Airways. Lufthansa is also considering buying SAS Scandinavian Airlines and the Portuguese airline TAP Portugal. Lufthansa attempted to buy TAP Portugal in 2019 but the deal fell through as a result of COVID-19. All Lufthansa Group members are also members of the Star Alliance. Lufthansa Group is the second-largest airline group in Europe by passengers, carrying 93 million in 2022.

Acquisition of ITA Airways

On 30 March 2023, Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr visited ITA Airways headquarters in Rome to negotiate a deal to buy the Italian airline. According to news agency Reuters, negotiations will start at around €200 million for 40% of the airline, with Lufthansa wanting an option to buy the entire airline from the Italian finance ministry.[111] On 24 April, the negotiation deadline ended without an agreement made. Both parties stated that negotiations were nearly finished, so they would continue negotiating until 12 May.[112] This date was once again postponed with both parties saying that negotiations are "On a good way."[113] At the meeting of G7 leaders in Hiroshima in May 2022, the topic was discussed between the German and Italian leaders. They had talked about "rising the synergies between the industry of the two countries."[114] On 25 May, a deal was finally signed, with Lufthansa paying €325 million for 41% of the airline. Lufthansa also has an option to buy the rest of the company; if this happens, this price will comply with the airline's profit. As part of the deal, Rome becomes a hub of the Lufthansa Group, with Milan also being considered.[115]

Destinations

Codeshare agreements

Lufthansa codeshares with the following airlines:[116][117]

LH Part of the Lufthansa Group.

Fleet

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 aeroplane 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 two Canadian cities along the standard flight path from Europe to North America. It became the first Lufthansa aeroplane 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,[126] 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 Zürich, 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 2014.[126]

As of 2014, 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.[126]

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.[127][128]

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.[129] Those six aircraft were sold back to Airbus for €315 million, and all will have exited the fleet by November 2023. It was later disclosed the sale price was reduced to €302 million because five of the six A380-800s sustained storm damage, which was not covered by insurance while stored.[130]

On 8 March 2020, Lufthansa announced that it would be grounding all of its A380 aircraft due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[131][132]

Lufthansa announced on 27 June 2022 that the remaining fleet of eight A380s will be reactivated and brought back into service for the 2023 summer season.[133] The stronger than anticipated customer demand and quicker recovery of international travel from the pandemic is cited as one of two reasons.[134] The other reason is the persistent delay of Boeing 777-9 delivery, which Lufthansa would not receive until 2025 or later. Lufthansa is still assessing how many and which A380 will be reactivated and which route the A380 will serve again.[135]

Lufthansa A380

On 2 December 2022, Lufthansa reactivated the first of two A380s to be entered into the revenue service beginning in the summer 2023. The first A380 to be reactivated was a nine-year-old D-AIMK, which left Teruel Airport for Frankfurt Airport after three years of storage. Since the A380 was inactive for a long time, the landing gears weren't retracted during the flight out of fear that they might not be deployed again. The A380 flew at slower speed and lower altitude, lasting three hours. After the preparatory evaluation and minor repair in Frankfurt, the A380 departed for Lufthansa Technik in Manila, Philippines for the extensive maintenance and replacement work.

Lufthansa has announced the A380 will begin its revenue flights from Munich to Boston Logan on 1 June and to New York-JFK on 4 July, as well as routes to Los Angeles and Bangkok beginning in October.[136]

On 1 June 2023, Lufthansa's A380 made its return, with a flight from Munich to Boston, that lasted 7 hours and 22 minutes.

On 23 October 2023, Lufthansa reinstated D-AIMN into flying commercially again and its first flight was from Munich to New York JFK. Currently, 4 A380s are being commercially flown by Lufthansa.

Services

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 Condor (formerly owned by Lufthansa), Croatia Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, and Luxair (previously part-owned by Lufthansa).[137] 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.[138]

Cabins

First Class

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

First Class is offered on Airbus A340-600s, the front of the upper deck on Airbus A380s, and the nose of the main deck on Boeing 747-8s. 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 introduced a new First Class product aboard the Airbus A380 and planned to gradually introduce it on all of its long-haul aircraft.[139] However, with the new program SCORE, introduced to boost profits by 1.5 billion euros over the following years, Lufthansa halted route expansion and extensively decreased its First Class offerings on most routes.[140][141] In October 2022, a new suite style First Class product was unveiled, and will be introduced on new A350 deliveries in 2023. In 2017 the airline announced that its first few Boeing 777-9s would not include First Class seats, however, First Class could be installed on later deliveries.[142] As of June 2021, the only remaining First Class seats Lufthansa offered were on its Boeing 747-8Is, with 10 Airbus A350-900s with First Class seats to be delivered starting in July 2023.[needs update][143][144]

Business Class

Business Class in a 2-2 layout on the upper deck of a Boeing 747-8I

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.[145] 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 widebody aircraft feature lie-flat seats.[146] Lufthansa released plans for a new business class set to be released in 2023 on the Boeing 787-9 and Airbus A350, and will retrofit the rest of the fleet in the coming years.[147]

Premium Economy

Economy Class aboard a Lufthansa Boeing 787-9

Introduced in 2014,[148] Lufthansa's long-haul Premium Economy was 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 an 11-or-12-inch (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.[149]

Bus service

A bus service from Nuremberg Airport to Munich Airport was reinstated in 2021 to replace short-haul flights between the two cities.[150] Lufthansa operated a check-in point in Nuremberg and a bus service from Nuremberg to Munich Airport in the late 1990s.[151]

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).

Fatal

Non-fatal

Hijackings and criminal events

Controversies

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.[186] A major dispute between Lufthansa and the pilot's union has been settled after nearly five years and overall 14 strikes in December 2017.[187] Without taking into account the €9 billion bailout from the German government, Lufthansa cut 31,000 jobs in the COVID-19 years.[188] During the 2022 collective bargaining, verdi said that Lufthansa's wage offer meant real wage losses for employees and called on around 20,000 ground workers in Germany to go on warning strikes.[189]

Germanwings crisis management

Main article: Germanwings Flight 9525

Germanwings was a subsidiary of Lufthansa. Carsten Spohr, Lufthansa's CEO, oversaw the Germanwings Flight 9525 incident, "the darkest day for Lufthansa in its 60-year history", when pilot Andreas Lubitz intentionally flew an aircraft into a mountain, murdering 149 passengers.[190]

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".[191]

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."[192] 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".[193]

Deportation flights

Pro-migration activists from Germany have criticised Lufthansa for performing deportation flights on behalf of the German government.[194][162] In 2019, 4,573 people were deported on their planes, while their subsidiary Eurowings performed 1,312 deportations.[195] This totals more than 25% of deportations in Germany in 2019. At least two deportees perished during transport.[161][162]

Treatment of Nazi-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.[33][24]

Alleged collective punishment of visibly Jewish passengers

In 2022, the company allegedly engaged in collective punishment of visibly Jewish passengers. After a small minority of Jewish passengers did not comply with COVID masking rules on a flight from New York to Frankfurt, the company barred over a hundred visibly Jewish passengers from a connecting flight to Budapest. Lufthansa called in dozens of armed federal police to enforce its policy. A supervisor from Lufthansa explained to passengers that "everyone has to pay for a couple" as "It's Jews coming from JFK. Jewish people who were the mess, who made the problems."[196][197][198][199] The video of Lufthansa supervisor's statement has been compared to the treatment of Jews during the Holocaust.[200] Lufthansa confirmed that it barred a group of passengers from the flight.[201]

German police reacted with rage when passengers asked "why do you hate us?" and used the word Nazi.[202] The German Federal Police confirmed they were called to "presence" at the scene,[203] and in response to later questions said that "Lufthansa called us and said that some of this group from JFK were not following the rules" and that they "did not make any decision at all about who could fly and who could not. As the police even if we did think that their decision was discriminatory, as the police we can't then make the decision about who can and who cannot fly."[204]

The American Jewish Committee stated that "Banning ALL Jews from a flight because of an alleged mask violation by some Jewish passengers is textbook antisemitism from Lufthansa".[205][206] German MP Marlene Schönberger said that if the reports are true, then "there must be consequences" as "Excluding Jews from a flight because they were recognizable as Jewish is a scandal. I expect German companies in particular to be aware of anti-Semitism."[206]

Lufthansa denied its actions were antisemitic saying that "We consider the claim of anti-Semitism to be unwarranted and without merit".[207] Lufthansa later said it wishes to investigate the incident internally.[206] Lufthansa was condemned by US envoy Deborah Lipstadt who described Lufthansa's anti-Semitism as "unbelievable", and stated that her office was in contact with the German government over the incident that involved US citizens.[208]

In August 2022, as a result of the incident, Lufthansa adopted the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism and appointed a senior manager to prevent antisemitism and discrimination.[209][210][211][212]

Banning of Apple AirTags on aircraft

In October 2022, Lufthansa banned all Apple AirTags to track traveler's luggage claiming that they were considered disallowed personal electronic devices.[213] International Air Transport Association (IATA) has not included AirTags or trackers in its Dangerous Goods Regulations manual and Apple rejected this interpretation.[213]

One month later, fellow Star Alliance Member Air New Zealand also issued an advisory against baggage trackers on the "honour system".[214]

February 2024

On 21 February 2024, Lufthansa was sued by a man who fractured his back when severe turbulence threw him against the ceiling during a flight in March 2023.[215]

See also

References

Footnotes

  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 as a successor to Deutsche Luft Hansa, 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 Berlin Brandenburg Airport, Düsseldorf Airport, Vienna Airport and Zurich Airport as its hubs.[4] They are not listed here because they are home to Lufthansa's subsidiaries Eurowings, Austrian Airlines, and Swiss International Air Lines, respectively. For the same reason, all other Eurowings bases are omitted.

Citations

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Bibliography

Media related to Lufthansa at Wikimedia Commons