In view of weaker demand in the coming winter flight schedules, Lufthansa is reducing the number of its weekly flights, especially on German and European routes. All in all, a total of 12,406 weekly flights will be laid on the new winter timetable (previous year: 13,402), a decrease of 7.4 per cent. Through gradual withdrawal of smaller regional aircraft and the deployment of larger types, the available seat capacity will remain stable in a year-on-year comparison. Overall, through fleet re-dimensioning, the capacity – measured in available seat kilometres - will increase marginally by 1.1 per cent, principally through the use of new aircraft in inter-continental traffic. The winter timetable 2009/2010 is valid for the period commencing Sunday, 25 October 2009 through to Saturday, 27 March 2010.
In the new winter flight schedules, Lufthansa is offering connections to 191 destinations in 78 countries (compared with 194 destinations in 79 countries in winter 2008/09). With 11,282 German domestic and European flights weekly (previous year: 12,278 flights), the downsizing is mainly in the continental route network. Long-haul services in contrast with a weekly 1,146 intercontinental flights (previous year: 1,124 flights) will increase marginally.
“Our passengers are staying loyal to us because we are maintaining existing connections and not radically revising our route network. We are optimising the network so as to retain connection quality, wherever possible, for our customers,” explained Karl Ulrich Garnadt, Member of the Lufthansa German Airlines Board. “We are keeping a presence in all traffic regions and cancelling flight connections only when alternatives are available to our passengers. This adaptation is a measure resulting from the CLIMB 2011 cost-cutting programme, with which the Lufthansa passenger business is aiming to improve its results on a sustained basis by a billion euros by 2011. At the same time, we are opening up new markets in West Africa, for example, so as to harness new grow opportunities.“
Renewed adjustment to the timetable in line with declining demand will be effected largely by scrapping individual flight frequencies, amalgamating specific routes and the assumption of selected connections by airlines in the Lufthansa Group. In the winter schedules, for example, the flights operated to Brussels by Lufthansa and Brussels Airlines in cross-border traffic between Germany and Belgium will be rearranged and harmonised. Lufthansa will take over the connections to the Belgian capital from its Frankfurt and Munich hubs, Brussels Airlines will in return connect Brussels with Hamburg and Berlin.
Despite the necessary cuts, Lufthansa is continuing to develop new, strategically important growth markets. Among its principal targets are West and Central Africa. Lufthansa is further increasing its services in that region and will be flying daily to the Nigerian capital Abuja when the new timetable starts. Those flights will continue thrice-weekly to Malabo (Equatorial Guinea) and four times weekly to Nigeria’s Port Harcourt, which is thus featuring anew in the timetable. In July, the biggest German airline is commencing a new connection to Libreville in Gabon. In this region, rich in raw materials, Lufthansa is also flying to Luanda (Angola) and Lagos (Nigeria). In comparison with the previous year, Lufthansa is doubling its services to the oil-producing countries in West and Central Africa from 11 to 21 flights weekly.
Since 1 October, Lufthansa customers have been able to book new code-share connections with cooperation partner JetBlue. The US carrier is operating flights also under Lufthansa flight numbers from 11 November 2009 with seamless flight connections ex New York or Boston to twelve US destinations and Puerto Rico. Additionally, seasonal services Hamburg–Innsbruck (Austria), Frankfurt–Cape Town (South Africa) and Dusseldorf–Miami (USA) will be resumed.
In the past few months, Lufthansa has for economic discontinued flights to Erivan (Armenia), Bristol (UK), Ufa (Russia) and Portland/Oregon (USA).
The airlines in the Lufthansa Group – Austrian Airlines, bmi, Brussels Airlines and SWISS – are also commencing their winter flight schedules on 25 October. In harness with Lufthansa, all five airlines are together serving 254 destinations in 101 countries on four continents via their hubs at Brussels, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, London-Heathrow, Munich, Vienna and Zurich. They are also each augmenting their own services with an array of code-share fights with partner airlines.