Lufthansa’s executive board member Harry Hohmeister has called for “a clear perspective on how travel between the USA and Europe can return on a larger scale”.
The group said it had seen a surge in demand for summer flights to the US, with booking increases on routes to New York, Miami and LA of up to 300 per cent.
As a result its member airlines are increasing the number of flights to and from the US from next month, and the group has resumed connections to “attractive destinations such as Orlando and Atlanta”.
But Hohmeister said that Germany “needs a plan for opening up transatlantic air travel”.
“People are craving for vacation and cultural exchange as well as reuniting with their families, friends and business partners – and, in this context, especially for flights between Germany and the USA.
“Because of the great significance of transatlantic air travel for the global economy, we now need a clear perspective on how travel between the USA and Europe can return on a larger scale. Lower number of infections and a rising rate of vaccinations allow for a cautious increase in transatlantic air travel.”
The CEOs of British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and London Heathrow airport recently called for the full opening of transatlantic routes, with BA’s boss Sean Doyle stating that “Not opening up the UK economy [to the US] is costing the UK about £32 million per day”.
IATA’s new director general Willie Walsh echoed these calls, stating that “Given the pace of vaccination roll out that has taken place in the US, and in the UK, it should give people reason to be optimistic about transatlantic travel between the UK and US starting in a safe manner in the near future”.
Outside of the US, Lufthansa Group said that bookings to “classic European holiday destinations such as Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal” had tripled in the last seven days, with demand to some Spanish destinations “even higher than in 2019”.
Leisure long-haul destinations including the Maldives, Cancun and Punta have also seen a strong increase in demand in recent weeks.
Last month Lufthansa Group reported that it had operated at just 21 per cent capacity in the first quarter of 2021 (compared to the same period in 2019), but said that “as a result of the progress of vaccinations and the further availability and growing acceptance of testing possibilities, the company expects a significant market recovery in the second half of the year”.