The FINANCIAL — The upcoming 2009 summer schedule shall witness Lufthansa adjust its capacities by 0.5 per cent due to the decline in demand.
The adjustment shall occur by cancelling certain frequencies and combining routes and flights. At the same time, Lufthansa will be investing in selected growth markets. Consequently, certain regions in the route network will be strategically expanded by introducing new connections.
According to Lufthansa, the summer schedule will include 206 destinations in 78 countries (in summer 2008 there were 207 destinations in 81 countries). The reduction of capacities by 0.5 per cent is being overcompensated by the successful launch of Lufthansa Italia. The offered capacity of seat kilometres in the overall Lufthansa route network in summer 2009 will therefore be increasing by 0.6 per cent in comparison with the previous year, respectively in European traffic by 1.5 per cent increase. Adjusted after the Lufthansa Italia growth, European traffic would drop by 2.2 per cent. The summer schedule also envisages a slight capacity in-crease of 0.2 per cent for the intercontinental connections, whereby an extraordinary item shall be taken into account. Changes to the seat configuration in the Boeing 747-400 fleet will mean that in the future an additional 22 Economy Class seats will be offered in this aircraft type. Adjusted after the increase of the seating offer, the offered capacity in inter-continental traffic would drop by 0.7 per cent.
“We will continue to maintain our presence in all of the traffic areas and regions despite the weaker demand and the resulting reduction of the capacities”, stresses Thierry Antinori, Executive Vice President Marketing and Sales at Lufthansa Passenger Airlines. “While many are talking about the crisis, we are talking about the wishes of our custom-ers. We are optimising our offer of flights and are carefully and flexibly adjusting it to the corresponding demand for our routes. Thereby, we are deploying smaller aircraft in some areas and replacing non-stop flights with connecting flights in other areas, in order to continue to be able to provide our customers with a global network. At the same time, our portfolio is growing in important markets like Italy with the new Lufthansa Italia offer, with new destinations in certain growth markets in Eastern Europe and with additional connec-tions in the Middle East and Europe.”
Lufthansa plans to operate a total of 14,038 weekly flights during the summer schedule (14,224 flights in summer 2008). This represents a reduction of 1.3 per cent. With a total of 12,786 domestic German flights and European flights per week (12,972 flights in sum-mer 2008), the majority of the flights will be cancelled on the continental route network. In addition, there will be 1,274 intercontinental flights (1,258 flights in summer 2008). The 2009 summer schedule will begin on Sunday, 29 March and be valid until Saturday, 24 October 2009.
Lufthansa jets fly daily to 47 destinations in Eastern Europe
Lufthansa is continuing to expand its route network in Eastern Europe. As of 27 April 2009, Lufthansa’s regional subsidiary, Lufthansa CityLine, will start flying five times a week to Rzeszów in south-eastern Poland. As of the summer schedule, the daily flights from Munich to Poznan in the west of the country will also be complemented by a new daily offer from Frankfurt. Another new flight will start on 30 March 2009: subject to ap-proval from the authorities, CityLine will start flying daily from Munich to Lviv in Ukraine. On weekends, Lufthansa will also operate a non-stop offer to the two Adriatic cities of Split and Dubrovnik (Croatia) from Munich. Between 20 June and 12 September, the airline will also start a new flight from Düsseldorf to Inverness in the heart of the Scottish Highlands. In addition, a new daily connection from Düsseldorf to Venice will be added to the sched-ule on 20 April. There will also be some additional flights between the German and British capitals: The Berlin–London route will now fly to London Heathrow instead of London City Airport and three of the six daily Airbus A319 flights will be operated by British Midland (bmi), in which the Lufthansa Group has a stake. Consequently, the offer between the two big cities will be increased by over half the number of seats. In Europe, the connections to Madrid, Stavanger (Norway), Nizhny Novgorod and Perm (Russia) will also be operating with additional flights.
Additional flights in the Middle East
In the Middle East and Africa, the route network and flight offer will be expanded: Luf-thansa will expand its flight offer to Tel Aviv and, subject to approval from the authorities, will reintroduce a connection from Munich. As of 26 April 2009, the airline will then begin flying four times a week from the Bavarian capital to Tel Aviv. Consequently, the most important Israeli metropolis will be connected to both Lufthansa hubs in Frankfurt and Mu-nich. The Saudi Arabian cities of Jeddah and Riyadh will each receive a daily non stop flight from Frankfurt. There will now also be a daily flight to Muscat, the capital of Oman. As of 22 September, the Lufthansa Business Jet will also be used on the Frankfurt–Bahrain and Frankfurt–Dammam (Saudi Arabia) routes for the first time. In addition, there will also be a non-stop flight from Frankfurt to Addis Abeba, the capital of Ethiopia, as of the summer. The expanded long-haul offer from Düsseldorf as of May 2008 will be retained in full. Dur-ing the coming summer, there will again be flights from Düsseldorf to the North American destinations of Newark, Chicago and Toronto with the Airbus A340-300 long haul aircraft.
The new offer of flights by Lufthansa Italia from Milan Malpensa successfully took to the skies in February and is already being expanded. Passengers can already choose from several daily direct flights from Milan to Barcelona, Brussels, Budapest, Bucharest, Madrid and Paris with Lufthansa Italia. As of the end of March, Lufthansa Italia will also be offering flights to an additional two European destinations with London Heathrow and Lisbon. At the beginning of April, Lufthansa Italia will then start operating domestic Italian flights from Milan to Rome, Naples and Bari. There will also be additional flights to the long haul destinations of Algiers (Algeria), Sana (Yemen), Dubai (U.A.E.) and Mumbai (India) as of the summer.
With TAM to Chile
Following the introduction of the Brazilian TAM Airlines as a new Lufthansa code-share partner in South America in August 2008, TAM will take over the SWISS passengers on the connecting route between São Paolo (Brazil) and Santiago de Chile from 29 March 2009 onwards. As of mid-May 2009, it will even be operating the flight twice a day. Luf-thansa and SWISS passengers will continue to be able to fly to São Paulo from Frankfurt, Munich and Zurich, and then use the new code-share connections operated by TAM to continue to Chile. At the beginning of 2010, TAM will join the Star Alliance, the world’s largest airline alliance.
In comparison to summer 2008, Lufthansa already cancelled the connections to Bordeaux (France), Bratislava (Slovakia), Yerevan (Armenia), Ibiza (Spain), Karachi and Lahore (Pakistan) last summer or during the winter due to economic reasons.