Germany’s Lufthansa continues to recover amid travel boom

German airline Lufthansa said Wednesday it had reduced its net loss for the first quarter, as pent-up demand for travel is expected to further boost its bottom line in the upcoming summer months.

Germany's Lufthansa continues to recover amid travel boom
A Lufthansa plane. Photo by J Ph on Unsplash)

The group’s net loss for the first three months of the year reached 467 million, an improvement from a loss of 584 million a year ago.

The negative result was mainly down to normal seasonality, the airline said, although strikes at German airports as well as costs for the planned expansion of flights in the summer also weighed on its earnings.

Lufthansa recently massively thinned out its summer flight offering and cancelled 34,000 flights due to the still-glaring staff shortage. 

The airline industry “continues to suffer from bottlenecks and staff shortages, especially in Europe”, a Lufthansa spokesperson told business publication WirtschaftsWoche. In addition to airlines, airports, ground handling services and air traffic control are particularly affected.

The cancellations should now reduce the workload and “allow for more stability for the whole system,” he added.

READ ALSO: Will Germany’s airports face travel chaos again this summer?

Increasing passenger numbers

Revenues rose by 40 percent to seven billion euros for the period, as 22 million passengers boarded Lufthansa group’s planes between January and March.

“The continuously strong demand gives us confidence for the coming months. The summer travel season will provide a major contribution to achieving our targets for 2023,” said Remco Steenbergen, Lufthansa’s chief financial officer.

Capacity had already grown to 75 percent of the pre-Covid level in 2019 and was up 30 percent from the previous year.

For the full year, Lufthansa expects capacity to reach between 85 and 90 percent compared to 2019.

READ ALSO: Germany’s Lufthansa to hire 20,000 employees as recovery gathers pace

Member comments

  1. Living near Frankfurt means a Lufthansa monopoly and Lufthansa is taking advantage – at a recent travel industry conference Lufthansa was asked when they will reduce prices to more acceptable levels – the response was “When people stop paying those high prices” Frankfurt needs Ryanair back to moderate, but the airport colludes with their biggest customer

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How two airlines are offering budget flights from Berlin to the USA

Starting later this year, flights from Berlin to New York and back could cost as little as €300. Here's how two Nordic airlines are offering budget services, and we look at other flight connections between Germany and the States.

How two airlines are offering budget flights from Berlin to the USA

With almost 30 years expiring between the first plans and its completion, Berlin’s BER airport was a long time coming – but now there are signs that the capital’s airport could finally be turning into the international transport hub it was intended to be.

From this winter, Iceland budget airline Play will be offering return flights from Berlin to New York for just €300 – providing passengers are fine with a brief stopover in Reykjavik. 

The first operator to run direct flights out of BER to New York, Norse Airlines, announced in spring that it would be transitioning to a seasonal service between the US and the German capital. 

Over winter, flights out of Berlin with Norse will fly directly to Miami instead, with the New York service resuming next year in summer. At the lowest end, the Nordic airline offers one-way tickets for €179 to New York and €199 to Miami, though the availability of these tickets is relatively limited.

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know as an American moving to Germany

Passengers can also choose between the Norse Economy or Norse Premium cabins, and pick tariffs depending on the level of comfort and flexibility they want. With the Flextra tariff, for example, hold baggage, two in-flight meals, better seats and cheaper re-booking are on offer. 

On Play’s end, CEO Birgir Jonsson says the low prices are possible due to the airline’s distinctive model, which brings passengers from throughout Europe to Iceland’s capital in under three hours, and then flies them across the Atlantic in five.

It also operates smaller aircraft that are quicker to fill, and offers a ‘no frills’ service without wifi or plug sockets, with hold luggage costing €99 extra. 

“Our fleet is young and economical, we don’t have a business class,” Jonsson told regional newspaper Tagesspiegel.

The airline also avoids landing at well-known airports that are pricier to dock in: “We don’t fly to New York JFK, but to Stewart,” Play’s CEO added. “We don’t fly to Toronto, we fly to Hamilton.”

Previous attempts to create a budget offer for long-haul travel have fallen flat – and Norse has already had to ditch two of its US services out of Berlin this year – but the two Nordic airlines are bullish about their chances of keeping low-cost, long-distance travel between Berlin and the USA on offer. 

“We have costs that are about half the capital costs of other low-cost airlines,” CEO Björn Tore Larsen told Tagesspiegel. 

The airline has also been quick to adapt its schedule to demand, cutting flights to Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale earlier this year and switching its New York flights to a season service before launching its flights to Miami on December 15th. 

Which airlines offer direct flights from Germany to the US?

Along with the two destinations out of Berlin, three other cities in Germany offer direct flights to the United States: Frankfurt, Munich and Düsseldorf.

In terms of sheer choice, Germany’s busiest airport, Frankfurt, is the best city to flight out of to US destinations.

Out of Frankfurt, there are currently 19 direct flights to US cities, including New York, Atlanta, Denver, Miami, Chicago, Seattle and Los Angeles. The main flight operators are Lufthansa, United and Delta airlines.

A Lufthansa aeroplane taxis at Munich airport

A Lufthansa aeroplane taxis at Munich airport. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

Flights to New York take just under nine hours and cost around €400 for a return, while flights to Los Angeles take just under 12 hours and cost around €600 for a return on average.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: The airlines that offer direct flights between Berlin and the US

Munich, meanwhile, is the second best option for people flying to the United States out of Germany.

There are currently direct services to at least 11 US cities out of the Bavarian capital, including to Miami, Washington D.C., New York, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco Denver and Chicago.

As you might imagine, flights out of Munich do take a little longer – around half an hour more than flights out of Frankfurt – but prices tend to be relatively similar.

Alternatively, Delta operates direct flights between Düsseldorf and Atlanta.

How many Americans visit Germany each year?

Citizens of the US make up one of the biggest groups of tourists in Germany, with around three million Americans visiting per year in pre-Covid times.

Meanwhile, approximately 2.1 Germans make the trip across the Atlantic to the US each year, with the vast majority of them visiting New York. 

READ ALSO: IN NUMBERS: How important are American tourists to Germany?