AFTER a difficult start, 2010 turned out to be a good year for Lufthansa. Between January and November 2010 Lufthansa German Airlines welcomed some 55 million passengers on board, a 6.1 per cent increase over the same period last year. The Lufthansa Group as a whole, including the airline subsidiaries SWISS, Austrian Airlines and bmi transported some 83 million passengers in the eleven months through November 2010. The seatload factor stood at 79.5 per cent for the Group, a plus of 1.4 per cent.
“Lufthansa will continue to expand into fast growing markets in 2011, with the main target markets, like in 2010, being in West and Central Africa, in the Middle East and selected regions with strong economic growth around the globe,” said Joachim Steinbach, vice president, sales and services, Southeast Europe, Africa & Middle East/Pakistan. Two recent intercontinental additions to the portfolio of some 200 destinations include services to Bogota, Columbia and to Pointe-Noire, Congo in the autumn of 2010. In the Middle East, the airline launched Erbil, Iraq in April last year with plans to launch Baghdad in the future.
“In 2009 and 2010 Lufthansa saw major investments in the UAE and in Saudi Arabia. We were able to establish our Dubai-Munich service as a year-round three-class product, operated with a wide body Airbus A340 aircraft. Our service from Abu Dhabi to Frankfurt was just beefed up to a daily pattern in November 2010. In Saudi Arabia we increased from nine flights a week in 2009 to now 20 flights a week, with the latest addition in April 2010 being a three-times weekly Riyadh-Munich service.
“On the intercontinental sectors we also took a hit, but to a lesser degree. Needless to say, yields came under pressure across the board. In May things started to turn around and the second half of 2010 turned out to be a very strong semester. Both the corporate business and demand in business and first class picked up,” added Steinbach.
Lufthansa also maintains its investments into product and services for the premium segment. A brand new first class was launched with the arrival of the Airbus A380 in May 2010 and there are plans for a multi-year investment plan of some €150 million ($200 million) to further upgrade and enhance their airport lounges. With the delivery of the first Airbus A380 in May, the airline introduced a brand new Lufthansa first class and economy class seat. By the end of 2011 Lufthansa will have installed some 32,000 new seats to complete one of the biggest cabin refurbishment programmes in its history with an investment of €170 million ($226 million).
The first half of 2011 will also see the airline take delivery of four Airbus A380s superjumbos. Lufthansa has ordered 15 A380s in total. In addition, 20 Boeing 747-8i’s were ordered with delivery between 2012 and 2015. In December 2010 Lufthansa also launched FlyNet, making it the first airline to offer its customers broadband Internet access on intercontinental routes. The service will be available on nearly the entire Lufthansa intercontinental network by the end of 2011.