Lufthansa to selectively cut first class

23 Apr 2012 by BusinessTraveller

Even Lufthansa, arguably Europe’s most successful national airline, is feeling the pinch.

In a letter addressed to staff and later leaked to the German media including Handlesblatt, Frankfurter Allgemeine and Süddeutsche Zeitung, Lufthansa board member Carsten Spohr has indicated that his airline must achieve Euros 1.5 billion in efficiency savings.

We are working “under difficult conditions,” said Spohr in his letter. He talked about issues such as air traffic control, emissions trading, night flight bans and increasing competition from both budget airlines on the one hand and the Gulf carriers on the other.

Last year, the Lufthansa Group (which includes Lufthansa and Germanwings plus Bmi [in 2011], Austrian, Swiss and Brussels Airlines) made a loss of around Euros 13 million.

Lufthansa’s efficiency drive is preparing the airline to face more difficult operating conditions expected in the years ahead.

“[Over the next three years] we are looking to adjust growth in line with market demands,” a spokesman in Germany told Business Traveller.  “It means first class will be dropped from a number of routes, a process we started a while back. A premium economy product, a concept which management rejected in the past, will be re-considered.”

“Germanwings (Lufthansa’s budget subsidiary) will continue to take over Lufthansa short-haul flights out of Cologne, Hanover and Stuttgart. This arrangement has already started with Germanwings now operating into London Heathrow from these three cities.”

“But [contrary to a number of other media reports] Lufthansa will remain the core brand out of other leading regional cities, including Berlin.”


Report by Alex McWhirter

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