The airlines that make up the Lufthansa Group carried a record number of passengers in 2011. A total of 106.3 million passengers chose to fly with Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian Airlines, bmi and Germanwings. This is equivalent to growth of 7.5 per cent compared with the previous year. The Group increased its capacity by 9.8 per cent overall in 2011, while its revenue seat kms rose by seven per cent. The average passenger load factor for the aircraft correspondingly fell by two percentage points to 77.2 per cent.
“Lufthansa records positive trends on its Middle East routes, in part due to recent schedule enhancements, like the upgrade of the Doha-Frankfurt service to a daily non-stop product. Lufthansa also boosted its capacity on Abu Dhabi-Frankfurt service. Our new First Class cabin is also very well received by our customers. Customers can enjoy the new product on our Airbus A380 flagship and we are also refitting the cabins of our existing long haul aircraft, including our Airbus A330, A340 and the Boeing 747,” he adds.
Speaking about the region, he says that some markets were and remain heavily impacted, among them Egypt and Libya.
“In Libya we had to suspend operations altogether. Others like Tunisia recovered relatively quickly. Joachim Steinbach, vice president, sales and services, Southeast Europe, Africa & Middle East/Pakistan, Lufthansa says that while the Middle East too closed 2011 on a positive note, in view of an increasingly depressed global economic outlook and great uncertainty across Europe, much work will be essential to increase efficiency and lowering our unit cost.
“What’s important is that we continue to be true to our promise: We put the customer centre stage and provide individual caring. However, we are pleased to announce that we have reinstated our flights to Libya with a three times weekly service, based on expected escalating demand, Lufthansa will eventually increase capacity in the future,” added Steinbach.
On the economic front, Steinbach realises that 2012 will be a challenging year. “What’s happening in Europe particularly is hampering demand. At three per cent capacity growth for 2012 as a whole we are still growing moderately, but slower than originally planned.”
Last winter, Lufthansa added three new destinations to its route network: Rio de Janeiro, Aberdeen and London Gatwick. Available capacity during the winter timetable period across the entire route network was increased by four per cent compared with the previous year, largely due to the use of larger and more fuel-efficient aircraft types that have joined the Lufthansa fleet since last winter.
For summer 2012, 30 new destinations will be served from Berlin which includes 28 new European destinations and two Middle Eastern destinations. This means an increase in the number of scheduled Lufthansa take-offs and landings in Berlin to more than a thousand a week in the 2012 summer flight timetable, representing a rise of 35 per cent. Also this summer, Lufthansa is adding Qingdao and resuming operations to Shenyang, both dynamic cities in China, from Frankfurt. Lufthansa will also open a new terminal building, offering more flexibility and room for growth at their main hub airport.
Currently, Lufthansa Group has on order 202 aircraft, valued at a total of more than 19 billion euros ($24.9 billion) at list price and scheduled for delivery between 2011 and 2018. This also includes 15 Airbus A380s scheduled for delivery through 2015 and also has 20 Boeing 747-8i on order planned for delivery from 2012 to 2015. The airline will introduce an all-new Business Class on the new Boeing 747/8i and on three new Airbus A330 and gradually to the entire fleet. Lufthansa also introduced FlyNet, the faster, smarter, more powerful broadband internet connection on routes to the Middle East. Through FlyNet, passengers from any cabin class can access high-speed broadband internet via their laptops, smart phones or tablet PCs. On ground, Lufthansa is on a roll in investments in lounge facilities and other ground services.
“We remain cautious about 2012 largely due to the imminent effect of the global financial crisis. We are also not discounting future political turmoil, prompted by general discontent from citizens on their own national economies. We are preparing ourselves for the possible effects,” added Steinbach.