Lufthansa Group is one of the most considered and consistent airline businesses in the world. It takes a continuous view, only buying when it needs to buy and it rarely changes what it sets out to do unless there’s plenty of evidence to make it rethink.
One of the few change of minds the airline made in recent years was to stop the 748i buy at 19 rather than the 25 it signed for. It did that because it was deeply dissatisfied with the aircraft and Boeing’s response to the problems.
This week the Group Supervisory Board met as it does four times a year.
As a result of that meeting Swiss is to get 10 new Airbus A320neo’s and another 14 plus 3 A321neo’s will go to Lufthansa, all to be delivered in 2022-23.
Lufthansa also announced a further major shake up of its aircraft deployments. Part of this is down to an ongoing row with Frankfurt airport, which is seen by Lufthansa as not moving fast enough to update technology and passenger management solutions, especially at long haul gates.
As a result the airline experimented with a reallocation of 5 A380’s to Munich this year and announced all of its A350’s would fly from there.
It’s been so successful, with the new Terminal 2 so efficient with its advanced check in and boarding processes, Lufthansa is moving an additional three A380’s and all of the remaining A340-600’s to Munich over the winter.
The burgeoning Asian market is making it increasingly viable, and Munich is set to become the primary Lufthansa – and therefore German hub – to the Middle and Far East, with a battery of Chinese, Japanese, Korean and SE Asian routes – many of which are being moved from Frankfurt.
Frankfurt Airport calmly ignores the issue its biggest customer clearly sees as vital, with growth in the low cost sector outstripping all else, its eye has moved to cater for that market.
It knows Lufthansa won’t leave but it’s not doing much to prevent it reallocating it’s fleet nor address growing capacity issues at anywhere near the speed it needs to.
Munich sits well north of the city, in a largely rural area, it has Prague, Vienna and Berlin – the later with no major long haul services and never likely to get them even at the new airport, all in easy reach, never mind the whole of South and East Germany and much of Austria in its catchment area.
Lufthansa’s move seems indicative of continued change to come.