Lufthansa switches Cape Town services from Frankfurt to Munich

Stricter night time curfews recently introduced at Frankfurt airport will force Lufthansa to relocate its busy Cape Town service to Munich.

The decision was announced to the media by Kay Kratky, Lufthansa’s passenger manager, at last night’s meeting of the Frankfurt aviation club, with reports appearing on airliners.de and news24.com.

Introduced eight months ago, the new curfew at Frankfurt prohibits departures after 2300. Lufthansa’s Cape Town service departs every evening at 2215 and this restriction allows little if any leeway should a flight be delayed for any reason.

“We can’t leave our passengers stranded,” says Kratky, who provided an example of a late evening flight to Johannesburg last week whose departure was delayed because of a problem loading a container.

According to Fraport (the operator of Frankfurt) around 14,000 passengers have been stranded overnight (because their flights failed to depart on schedule) since the new curfew took effect. 

Some 10,000 of these were flying Lufthansa with the remainder booked with foreign carriers. Passengers have either been accommodated at nearby hotels or have had to sleep inside the airport terminal.

Frankfurt is a major airline hub so only passengers who originate there will be inconvenienced as Lufthansa holds a monopoly for this route.

Lufthansa passengers connecting from other airports in Germany or elsewhere in Europe will be offered connections to Cape Town via  Munich. In a way this is no hardship as our readers report that Munich is more “transit friendly” than Frankfurt.

But these strict curfews which exist at most of Europe’s big airports are yet another way in which the region’s aviation industry is being handicapped compared with the situation existing in Asia and the Middle East.

Note that Lufthansa has not made any official announcement yet. So its revised flight schedules for Cape Town, from the start of the winter timetable, do not presently appear on lufthansa.com.

Report by Alex McWhirter


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  • UPDATE: Lufthansa has now officially confirmed the above, and has released timings for the new flights as follows:

    Munich (MUC) – Cape Town (CPT)/South Africa flight schedule effective 28 October 2012 (all times are given in local time):

    Departure days: Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun

    LH 574 Munich 22:00 hrs – Cape Town 10:35 hrs
    LH 575 Cape Town 19:00 hrs – Munich 05:35 hrs (+1)

    Aircraft model Airbus A340-300 – seating capacity 221 seats (8 First Class, 48 Business Class, 165 Economy Class)

    The full release reads:

    Seasonal Lufthansa connection to the South African city moves from Frankfurt to Munich

    Lufthansa passengers will for the first time be able to reach the South African coastal city of Cape Town nonstop from Munich when the upcoming 2012/2013 winter flight schedule goes into effect. Contrary to the existing winter schedule, the Lufthansa connection to the third-largest city in South Africa will not be operated from Frankfurt as in previous years, but instead will depart from the Bavarian capital city effective 28 October 2012.

    As the night flight ban in Frankfurt has been restrictively implemented, in the current summer flight schedule Lufthansa has already reduced departures from Frankfurt during evening hours or advanced them to earlier hours. The evening flight to Cape Town will now be moved from Frankfurt to Munich in the interests of increased flight operation reliability and stability.

    In the upcoming winter flight schedule, Cape Town will be served from Munich five times a week with an Airbus A340-300. Passengers who are already booked on the Frankfurt – Cape Town connection will be rebooked at no charge and informed accordingly in the next few days. The departure times from Munich will change only slightly compared to those from Frankfurt.

  • I am UK based and sometimes use the FRA – JNB and MUC – JNB flights provided by SA with connecting flights provided by LH from LHR or BHX. In my experience, MUC is much more convenient, less stressful and an altogether better experience to connect through than FRA. Adding the CPT service is a smart and helpful move from my perspective.

  • Can local authorities control developments around airports? It’s insane all this… Developers should look other directions to build homes; with the lack of land in Europe, will not too long before local governments will ban flights in many cities in Europe because the noise. However, FRA airport is always chaotic, there is always something in construction, MUC is much better airport, clean, spacious and modern.

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