There was much excitement in the German capital last Autumn when Lufthansa mainline relaunched its New York route.
Lufthansa had last operated the important Berlin-New York service back in 2001. Since then it had been in the hands of Air Berlin which, as readers will know, failed earlier last year.
However the eventual plan was, as we reported at the time, for Lufthansa mainline to transfer the route to its budget subsidiary Eurowings later this month.
And now Bloomberg reveals that Lufthansa has decided to axe the route altogether.
Indeed a quick check with lufthansa.com shows that the non-stop Berlin-New York service disappears from the inventory in a fortnight’s time.
Why? Lufthansa’s CEO Carsten Spohr claims the route is unprofitable and would be unlikely to turn a profit unless it were to secure better timings.
Bloomberg reports that Lufthansa has been unable to do this both at JFK and Newark airports.
Here we are talking about the sort of timings which would appeal more to high-revenue business rather than low-revenue leisure travellers.
Current timings involve a departure from Berlin Tegel in the late afternoon to give an arrival into JFK in the late evening.
The return flight departs JFK near midnight and arrives into Tegel the following day in the late morning,
Lufthansa says that passengers will be accommodated on United but then flying from Berlin Tegel to Newark (rather than JFK).
Travellers wanting to take Lufthansa mainline will have to route via the carrier’s Frankfurt hub.
Given Lufthansa’s size and importance one wonders why it was unable to wield more clout with JFK (for better slot times). And why, especially as it operates a commercial agreement with United, it was unable to do likewise at Newark.