Milan-based Lufthansa Italia is to suspend one route and reduce services on others by up to 50 per cent between June 28 and August 31.
Ostensibly the airline says cuts are down to the reduced level of business travel during the summer months. But some observers wonder if LH Italia’s expansion plans have been too ambitious given the current economic downturn, and there are reports that some flights have been lightly loaded.
The carrier, a subsidiary of Germany’s Lufthansa, was launched earlier this year from a new base at Milan’s Malpensa airport (see online news April 6).
It means that:
- LH Italia will completely suspend flights between Brussels and Milan.
- Services from London Heathrow to Milan will be cut from six to four flights a day.
- Paris CDG to Milan will be halved from four to two flights a day.
- Barcelona to Milan will reduce from three to two flights a day but between August 8 and August 31 only.
- Milan to Rome will be cut from four to three flights daily.
Some experts question whether or not LH Italia will ever restart the Brussels to Milan service because of what seems like pointless competition. On this route LH Italia is competing with the five times a day service of Brussels Airlines, a carrier which is in the process of being acquired by Lufthansa itself.
Air traffic within Europe is a victim of the economic situation with month-on-month declines being reported by industry body AEA (Association of European Airlines).
According to an AEA statement issued today, “Europe faces a steeper traffic decline than the average [of overall world air traffic] and the situation is not improving. Weekly figures for the last four weeks of May and the first week of June are relentlessly poor, with May likely to produce a decline in the order of nine per cent.”
Report by Alex McWhirter