Tag Archives: Lufthansa

LHT Embarks on Cabin Conversions

German maintenance, repair and overhaul provider Lufthansa Technik (LHT) has embarked on a programme to upgrade Airbus A320s for fellow Lufthansa offshoot Eurowings.  The initiative covers cabin conversions for 33 single-aisle jets, including A320s and A319s, being transferred from airberlin to the Düsseldorf-based low-cost carrier under a six-year wet-lease agreement.

“The modification of 33 aircraft in such a short amount of time requires intensive co-operation and great experience,” Ole Duenhaupt, Design Verification Engineer for cabin modifications at Lufthansa Technik explained.

The MRO was responsible for the design and approval of the cabin changes, which include an increase in seat pitch and the corresponding adjustment of the overhead service elements.  The company is also installing new safety belts, adapting the in-flight entertainment hardware and modifying the cabin monuments.

“The team responsible for the work, consisting of representatives from the airberlin as well as technicians from Eurowings and our engineering department, co-ordinated and completed all the required steps – from the preparation of the design documents and the planning and co-ordination of the layovers to the aircrafts’ approval and acceptance for flight operations – in the shortest time possible.  All the wheels interlocked with precision,” Duenhaupt noted.

Work on all 33 aircraft is due for completion by the end of April.

Lufthansa Says Auf Wiedersehen to the 737

Lufthansa ended its 48-year association with the Boeing 737 when it retired its remaining fleet on October 31.

The honour of the final flight fell to 737-300 D-ABEC (c/n 25149), which operated a special service from Frankfurt to Hamburg where the airline and its maintenance arm, Lufthansa Technik, officially bid farewell to the type. After the ceremony, captain and fleet commander, Ulrich Pade, and his crew flew a group of journalists and Lufthansa employees back to Frankfurt, marking the airline’s final rotation with the 737.

161031_737_Abschied-16

“Lufthansa has always taken innovative approaches to cater the customers’ needs and to take advantage of market opportunities, which is why we played a key role in the 737’s creation and development. We will continue to pursue this innovative approach with the latest generation of aircraft,” said Harry Hohmeister, Member of the Executive Board and Head of Hub Management.

Lufthansa was the first airline to purchase Boeing’s ubiquitous narrowbody, with an order for 22 -100s in February 1965. The first jet arrived in Hamburg three years later and the carrier has gone on to operate 148 737s, including -200, -300, -400 and -500 variants.

The 737 was dubbed ‘Bobby’ in a 1960s children’s book, a name that has stuck at the German carrier as Klaus Froese, CEO Lufthansa Hub Frankfurt, explained. “The 737 has always been called ‘Bobby’ by Lufthansa employees and aircraft fans.  Many passengers and employees associate a very special time with this aircraft model.  We want to thank the 737 for almost 50 years of reliable and successful operations.”

The 737 has enjoyed some historic moments with the carrier, including being the first aircraft to witness reunification of Germany, when one landed at Leipzig Airport in the former German Democratic Republic.

Lufthansa’s six remaining 737-300s operated their final commercial flights on October 29 as the summer schedule came to a close. The jets will be ferried to Florida in the coming weeks where they will be resold.

The final flight was operated by 737-300 D-ABEC. Lufthansa
The final flight was operated by 737-300 D-ABEC. Lufthansa

 

 

All Change at airberlin

Airberlin has unveiled a bold restructuring plan intended to streamline its operation, increase profitability and deliver long-term growth.  The new strategy follows a comprehensive review of the German low-cost carrier, which is facing mounting pressure from rival operators such as easyJet, Ryanair, Wizz Air and Lufthansa’s new-look subsidiary Eurowings.

Key elements of the re-organisation include the consolidation of its two hubs at Berlin and Düsseldorf, shifting its tourist and leisure business into a separate division, refocusing its core network to “higher-yielding” markets and reducing its fleet by almost half.

Announcing the changes, airberlin CEO Stefan Pichler said: “This far-reaching restructuring of our operations is about a new focus, giving us a new future.

“Now more than ever, we are faced with significant external market pressures which dictate a change to our current complicated business model. We have sought to serve all market segments with one operating platform, covering both business and leisure travellers.

“The core airberlin proposition in future is now clear:  a dedicated focused network carrier serving higher-yielding markets from two hubs in Düsseldorf and Berlin.  A leaner, fitter, stronger airberlin has a bright future.”

Under the restructuring plan outlined in late September, the carrier will reduce its fleet to 75 aircraft – consisting of 17 Airbus A330s, 40 A320 Family aircraft and 18 Bombardier Dash 8-Q400s – by summer 2017.  This streamlining will be aided in part by an agreement to wet-lease up to 40 A320s to Lufthansa, 35 of which will join Eurowings with the remaining five destined for fellow subsidiary Austrian Airlines.

The changes will also see airberlin axe up to 1,200 positions by February through a combination of voluntary redundancies and redeployments elsewhere in the Etihad Airways Partners group, which includes Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Alitalia, Etihad Airways, Etihad Regional and Jet Airways.

Pichler added: “Of course, we understand that redundancies are unwelcome, even in a dynamic market such as Germany.  We have to make reductions but we will aim to do so in a supportive manner, offering new opportunities to employees where possible.  We are implementing a size and structure for the business that is fit for purpose.  We will see revenues grow and costs contained as a result of this restructuring of our business.”

Lufthansa and Air China Launch Joint Venture

The Lufthansa Group and Air China are set to increase their co-operation after signing a commercial joint venture (JV).  The agreement, confirmed on September 20, follows the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed in 2014 and will see the carriers significantly expand their code-sharing connections.

Air China’s Chairman Cai Jianjiang (left) with Lufthansa Chairman and CEO Carsten Spohr. (Lufthansa)
Air China’s Chairman Cai Jianjiang (left) with Lufthansa Chairman and CEO Carsten Spohr. (Lufthansa)

Commenting on the deal, Lufthansa Chairman and CEO Carsten Spohr said: “As the flag carrier, Air China is the ideal partner for the Lufthansa Group in the People’s Republic of China.  This ground-breaking joint venture will fundamentally strengthen our competitive position on routes between Europe and China.  The significantly enhanced partnership will enable us to create additional benefits for customers.”  Spohr continued: “The Chinese aviation market is one of the most important growth markets worldwide.  We want to profit from this growth together with our Star Alliance partner Air China.”

Air China’s Chairman Cai Jianjiang added: “The Joint Venture with Lufthansa and its subsidiaries Austrian Airlines and Swiss International Air Lines is another major steps of Air China’s globalisation strategy following our accession into Star Alliance in December 2007.  Both parties can further strengthen our overall competitive edge in both China and Europe.  Under the Joint Venture framework, we will further expand network coverage in China and Europe, enhance the flight connections in beyond markets and optimize flight schedules, enabling us to bring more and flexible flight choices, favourable fare products and seamless travel experiences.”

Under the terms of the agreement, the two carriers will co-ordinate their respective timetables to improve connectivity, offer common fares and examine opportunities to better integrate their frequent flyer programmes.

It is the third such agreement put in place by Lufthansa in the last year after it signed similar deals with Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Singapore Airlines last November.

Bayern Munich Flying High

Lufthansa flew Bundesliga side FC Bayern Munich to the US for the German team’s pre-season tour on a specially marked Airbus A340-642.

The aircraft, D-AIHK (c/n 580), features the club’s crest and ten of the club’s players including goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and former Germany captain Philipp Lahm.  Lufthansa says the aircraft will remain in the scheme for a year.

The jet departed Munich on July 25, bound for Chicago as LH2570.  Lufthansa has been the official carrier of FC Bayern Munich since 2004.

The aircraft features different designs on each side of the fuselage. Lufthansa
The aircraft features different designs on each side of the fuselage. Lufthansa

 

‘Fanhansa’ Returns for Euro 2016

Names of hundreds of football fans have been applied to Lufthansa Boeing 737-330 D-ABEK (c/n 25414) in support of the German national team’s bid for glory at this summer’s Euro 2016 tournament in France.

Coach Joachim Löw and his 22-man squad – minus former Arsenal man Lukas Podolski, who was absent following the birth of his child – departed Frankfurt Airport on the jet on June 7 bound for Chambéry-Savoie Airport near the team’s base at Evian-les-Bains.  The aircraft was converted into an all-business class configuration for the flight.

“We are proud that we, as the ‘Official Carrier’ of the DFB [German Football Association], may again fly the national team to another major tournament. Many Lufthansa employees are already in football fever and are keeping their fingers crossed for the German team,” said Klaus Froese, CEO Lufthansa German Airlines Frankfurt Hub, at the send-off in the Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt.

The jet also wears the ‘Fanhansa’ logo which was first applied during the team’s victorious 2014 World Cup campaign in Brazil.  Fans were invited to apply online to have their name added to the jet’s fuselage and more than 65,000 applications were received.  From this around 300 names were selected to be added to the aircraft.

The German national football team departed Frankfurt on June 7 bound for Chambéry-Savoie Airport in France. Lufthansa
The German national football team departed Frankfurt on June 7 bound for Chambéry-Savoie Airport in France. Lufthansa

Oliver Bierhoff, manager of the national team, added: “After the very emotional return from Rio with the Fanhansa Siegerflieger, we are delighted that Lufthansa has again made a special plane available to us.  The support of the fans is hugely important for the team.  Therefore, it is a wonderful signal that so many people have applied to co-design this fan plane.”