Published on October 5th, 2015 | by Jim Lee0
Lufthansa gears up for busy winter, as it plans management changes
With the introduction of the new winter schedule on 25th October 2015, the Lufthansa Group Airlines – Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Germanwings, Eurowings, Lufthansa and Swiss – will offer their customers one of the densest route networks in the world, featuring more than 20,380 flights per week.
This winter, via their hubs in Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich, Vienna and Brussels, as well as via many point-to-point routes, the Lufthansa Group Airlines will serve 261 destinations in 101 countries, compared to 260 destinations in 100 countries, the previous year. Furthermore, in cooperation with 30 partner airlines, more than 18,000 codeshare flights will round off the respective flight offering, giving passengers access to an almost global network. The winter schedules of the individual Group airlines will run until Saturday 27th March 2016.
From 2nd October, a new price concept on domestic German and European routes also applies on services by Austrian Airlines, in addition to Lufthansa. In Economy Class, travellers can individually choose between the three graded fare options ‘Light’, ‘Classic’ and ‘Flex’. These options vary mainly with regard to making advance seat reservations, re-booking or cancelling flights, and permitted free luggage allowances. This fare concept has been in place for bookings since last July and the new low-priced ‘Light’ fare option, has proved popular with customers. For all options, the Lufthansa Group Airlines as a premier airline, still permits one free item of hand baggage. Passengers are also offered free snacks and drinks on board, fixed seat allocation at the check-in counter, as well as bonuses for ‘award miles’, ‘status miles’ and ‘select miles’.
Looking specifically at Lufthansa, which operates services to Dublin, this winter it will serve 197 destinations and operate a total of 9,900 flights per week. With the introduction of the winter schedule, Lufthansa is expanding its new intercontinental flight offering, which is tailored to the needs of leisure travellers. Tampa (Florida), a new destination from 25th September and is the first of several new holiday destinations, being added to the Lufthansa route network from Frankfurt over the coming months. Internally, the new winter timetable will offer passengers an hourly connection from Munich to Düsseldorf and Berlin-Tegel. The easy-to-remember flight times, which already apply to connections from Munich to Frankfurt and Hamburg, will now be extended to Düsseldorf and Berlin. Lufthansa flights from Munich to Berlin will take off on the hour and to Düsseldorf at half past the hour.
The highlight this winter for Swiss, which also serves Dublin, is the introduction of its new flagship, the Boeing 777-300ER. It will enter scheduled service on routes from Zurich from January 2016, and this new long-haul aircraft will be deployed on the Zurich-New York route. With the introduction of the winter timetable, Swiss will fly to 105 destinations in 49 countries over the winter.
Lufthansa in Dublin
Lufthansa is set for a record year for its Irish operations, as the German airline announced it will carry 500,000 passengers on its Irish services by the end of 2015, having already flown in excess of 375,000 passengers by the end of September. The airline operates 40 flights a week out of Dublin, and its capacity increased by 11% this year, selling close to 90% of seats on each flight. A high number of its Irish passengers use Lufthansa for connecting flights, with about three-quarters of Dublin’s Lufthansa passengers, connecting through the airline’s Munich and Frankfurt hubs.
Earlier this year, the airline confirmed that it would operate its Dublin-Munich service six times per week over the winter season. The move is a major expansion for the route, which went year-round for the first time last winter. Lufthansa will operate it Dublin-Munich route daily, except Thursdays this winter, using a combination of A320 and A319 aircraft.
The expansion on the Dublin-Munich route should bring a further boost to German visitor numbers to Ireland. Lufthansa carried a record 377,000 passengers in and out of Dublin Airport last year, which was an increase of just over 5% on 2013 and Germany is now the third largest market for overseas visitors to Ireland. Visitor numbers have increased by 32% to 560,000 from 2011 to 2014. Last year, the most popular onward destinations for Lufthansa’s Dublin travellers included, Moscow, Sofia, Tel Aviv, Kiev, Belgrade, Lagos, Shenyang, Tokyo, Beijing, Larnaca and St Petersburg.
Other winter highlights for the Lufthansa Group
In the 2015/2016 winter timetable, Germanwings and Eurowings will offer a wide range of flights to 100 destinations in 36 countries, including intercontinental destinations. This will offer further connection opportunities for Dublin originating passengers. Germanwings flights to Berlin-Schönefeld will complement the carrier’s existing services to Berlin Tegel. A total of 35 flights per week will take off from Cologne/Bonn and Stuttgart to Berlin-Schönefeld Airport. Germanwings will thus be the only airline flying from Cologne/Bonn and Stuttgart to Berlin’s Tegel and Schönefeld airports.
This winter, for the first time, the new Eurowings will take off from its new Austrian base in Vienna, from where it will operate non-stop services to Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca and London. In November 2015, the airline will launch long-haul flights from Cologne/Bonn Airport with the Airbus A330-200 aircraft.
In the 2015/2016 winter season, Austrian Airlines will offer its passengers a wide range of flights to as many as 130 destinations in 59 countries, while Brussels Airlines, in addition to expanding its European flight schedule, will underline its position as Belgium’s leading airline to Africa with the launch on 26th October of a new connection between Brussels Airport and Ghana.
Lufthansa to offer broadband internet on short and medium-haul flights
From early summer 2016, Lufthansa will be the first network airline in Europe to offer broadband on board its short and medium-haul flights. Lufthansa operated the world’s first scheduled flight with broadband Internet access on 15th January 2003. Although it was increasing in popularity among passengers, this technically reliable broadband Internet connection via a wireless network had to be suspended in 2006 because the necessary satellites were no longer in operation. Since December 2010, Lufthansa has again been offering wireless Internet, but only on long-haul flights. Now passengers on continental flights and flights within Germany will now be able to enjoy the full freedom to communicate and to use the Internet with a wide bandwidth above the clouds. The first aircraft will be fitted with the new technology in early summer 2016.
The new service from Lufthansa and its technology partner Inmarsat is based on the most modern broadband satellite technology from Inmarsat’s Global Xpress network (Ka-band) and offers seamless, reliable coverage on short and medium-haul flights. Inmarsat recently successfully launched the third satellite in this global constellation and Lufthansa will be its first aviation customer. The service will enable passengers to make the most of broadband Internet access on their own mobile devices via a wireless network. They will not only be able to use simple e-mail services, but also superior applications and even streaming. On top of all this, passengers will also be able to use their mobile phones to send and receive text messages and for the transfer of data based on their own mobile phone contract. Telephone calls on board, however, will still not be allowed due to customer preference. Pricing will depend on cabin class and ticket pricing.
Lufthansa Technik will integrate all systems and components into the aircraft thanks to its many years of experience in the field of aircraft modification. This work will not only include installation activities, but also all tasks required in terms of aviation and licensing law.
Lufthansa Systems and Lufthansa Technik are additionally planning a long-term global partnership in order to also be able to offer other airlines a modern on-board IT platform (BoardConnect) with broadband Internet access that can be used for a number of different purposes. Both the Lufthansa Group and future clients in the third-party market will benefit from the additional services and lower risks provided by this strong partnership.
With regard to the future, Lufthansa is also committing to a flight trial programme for a new hybrid network being developed for Europe. The European Aviation Network combines an S-band satellite from Inmarsat with a complementary LTE ground network being provided by Deutsche Telekom. This promising and innovative technology offers potential in terms of costs and can be flexibly adapted to suit the broadband transmission demands of the future. Deutsche Telekom said it would build a network of 300 high-capacity 4G base stations across Europe, using dedicated spectrum that would connect to aircraft, with coverage switching to an Inmarsat satellite when the flight was over the sea. From 2017 onwards, Lufthansa will commence a flight trial program of the new technology.
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Lufthansa Group to be reorganised
In late September, Supervisory Board of the Lufthansa Group gave the green light to a new group alignment and a new division of business on the Executive Board. It will adopt the new organisational structure with effect from 1st January 2016. The team of Board members with Carsten Spohr, Karl Ulrich Garnadt, Harry Hohmeister, Simone Menne and Dr. Bettina Volkens will remain unchanged. Carsten Spohr will remain Chairman & CEO, however the office of Group Chairman & CEO Carsten Spohr will also be supplemented by Dr. Detlef Kayser, currently a partner at management consultants McKinsey. Dr. Kayser will also serve as Executive Vice President Strategy & Fleet, in which capacity he will also bear overall responsibility for the ‘7 to 1: Our Way Forward’ program.
The commercial management of the Lufthansa Group’s hubs and premium airlines Lufthansa, SWISS and Austrian Airlines will be entrusted to Harry Hohmeister. The Group’s point-to-point air services, along with overall responsibility for the Eurowings Group, will be in the hands of a new Group Executive Board position, which will be assumed by Karl Ulrich Garnadt. Group finances will continue to be entrusted to Simone Menne. Ms. Menne also assumes responsibility for the Group’s IT in the new organisation. The Group’s HR and legal affairs remain the responsibility of Dr. Bettina Volkens.
As a result of these developments, Harry Hohmeister will be stepping down as CEO of Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) on 1st January 2016. In view of this, the SWISS Board of Directors appointed Thomas Klühr, currently Head of Hub Munich & Finance on the Lufthansa German Airlines Board, as the new SWISS CEO. Mr. Klühr should assume his new Zurich-based duties, succeeding Harry Hohmeister, on 1st February 2016.
Within Hub Management under Harry Hohmeister, Jens Bischof will take over as Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) and assume commercial responsibility for Lufthansa’s home Frankfurt hub. Mr. Bischof will also bear global responsibility for the worldwide distribution of all three network carrier. Steffen Harbarth (currently Head of Sales for Lufthansa Group Airlines in the Asia-Pacific region) will assume commercial responsibility and CCO for Lufthansa’s Munich hub, along with process responsibility for the marketing of all three network airlines.
Dr. Andreas Otto, CCO at Austrian Airlines, will assume commercial responsibility for the Vienna Hub and take over the process responsibility for the product management of Lufthansa’s Hub Carrier. Markus Binkert, CCO of Swiss International Airlines, will be in charge of the commercial steering in Zurich and the process ”Distribution and Revenue Management” – also for all network Airlines of the Lufthansa Group.
A new Executive Board will also be established to provide overall management of the Eurowings Group. This body, which will assume its new duties on 1st November, will feature the divisions of ‘Commercial’, ‘Operations’ and ‘Finance’, which Oliver Wagner, Michael Knitter and Dr. Jörg Beissel are being respectively proposed to head to the relevant supervisory Board. The Eurowings Group will also be joined by Dr. Max Kownatzki, former Chief Strategist of the Australia-based Jetstar Group, who will be in charge of Business Development for the Eurowings Group’s point-to-point services.
Lufthansa Cargo, Lufthansa Technik and LSG Sky Chefs service companies will continue to be independently managed. In addition, the present four management levels below the Group Executive Board will be reduced to three in the new group organisation and is expected to reduce the overall number of management positions by around 15 %.
Comprehensive cabin refurbishment programme completed
The Lufthansa Group Executive Board also reported to the Supervisory Board on 21st September on the conclusion of the most comprehensive cabin refurbishment program in Lufthansa’s history. Now, every Lufthansa aircraft in line service on the company’s short-haul and long-haul networks features the latest cabin interiors. Over the past three years 106 Lufthansa long-haul aircraft have been fitted with state-of-the-art new Business and Economy Class cabins and seats. And 76 aircraft have been provided with a new First Class cabin, too. The program to install the new Premium Economy Class – which has proved extremely popular with customers – will also be completed on all 106 Lufthansa long-haul aircraft by this autumn. Elsewhere, SWISS, Austrian Airlines and Brussels Airlines have also been investing substantially in advanced aircraft and cabin interiors.