The Lufthansa Group has provided an update on the implementation of growth plans first announced on July 9.
According to the group, negotiations on a new long-haul low-cost product are in full swing (see here), with multiple proposals being considered. One option is to from a partnership in a similar vein to Sun Express, which is a fifty-fifty joint venture between Lufthansa and Turkish Airways.
Destinations have yet to be confirmed, but the group is looking for options that promise above-average growth in the leisure travel segment, which do not compete with Lufthansa Group airlines’ route networks. Rather, the idea is for the new carrier to complement Lufthansa’s product range with a fleet that will consist of up to seven Airbus A330-300s.
Operations are slated to begin in autumn 2015 with an initial three aircraft operating out of Munich, Dusseldorf and Cologne.
In addition to founding a low-cost airline, the group also plans to commence a significant aircraft retrofit to enable Lufthansa to increase profits on leisure travel dominated routes.
To that end, up to 14 Airbus A340-300s from Lufthansa’s long-haul fleet will be fitted with cabins that are optimised for leisure travel. This includes the complete removal of first class, as well as reducing business class cabins, in order to accommodate more economy class seats and the airline’s highly anticipated premium economy product.
Starting from the 2015/2016-winter flight season, the A340-300 sub fleet will fly at a lower cost, while still maintaining the same full-service offering that Lufthansa provides. According to the group, this will allow the airline to fly to markets that it would otherwise have withdrawn, had there not been the introduction of this less expensive option.
“The combination of our core brands’ focus on quality and the premium sector, and the development of new platforms for the leisure travel sector, which is experiencing dynamic growth but is also price-sensitive, is our way of working towards a successful future for the Lufthansa Group airlines,” said Carsten Spohr, chairman of the executive board and CEO of Deutsche Lufthansa AG.
For more information, visit lufthansa.com