Lufthansa yesterday closed on a transaction that allowed it to acquire 20 Air Berlin aircraft, Air Berlin’s ‘NIKI’ subsidiary as well as AB’s LG Walter operations. The deal amounted to $210 million Euro (approx. $250mm USD).
In return, Lufthansa agreed to protect all jobs that were affected specifically by this deal. In other words, LGW and NIKI employees do not need to fear for their jobs.
In his comments, LH Boss Carsten Spohr indicated that Lufthansa would infuse over $1 Billion Euro into the Air Berlin acquisitions which will cover updates and upgrades to the aircraft, as well as future aircraft acquisitions for LH’s LCC Eurowings, which is where all the Air Berlin assets will be assigned to going forward.
Several large parts of Air Berlin have yet to be sold. It appears that Easy Jet and Thomas Cook / Condor will also benefit from the liquidation of Air Berlin, though no specific deals have been announced. Ryanair has apparently been blocked out of any chance to benefit from the Air Berlin garage sale.
During this recent shopping spree, Spohr also suggested that Lufthansa would very much be interested in Alitalia. Though he firmly denied any interest in acquiring the struggling carrier in it’s current form (which is basically as bad as Air Berlin’s condition), he did suggest that Lufthansa would be very interested in helping the Italian gov’t create a ‘New’ Alitalia. I thinking ‘Lufthalia’??
I normally don’t speculate on rumors but one caught my attention today thanks to FlyerTalk’s ‘NewbieRunner’, who pointed out a thread written by a ‘HON Circle’ member suggesting that Lufthansa may be set to relax their upgrade rules as far as moving to First Class is concerned.
Back in 2012, Lufthansa stopped the practice of allowing Miles & More members to use their E-Vouchers to upgrade from discount ‘Z’ Business Class fares to First Class seats on long haul flights. Passengers could only upgrade to first if they had booked full fare business class tickets. This was also the time that Lufthansa unveiled ‘P’ fares, that were ‘deep discount’ business class fares. They too were ineligible for upgrades.
Interestingly enough, SWISS, the only other LH Group airline that offers long haul First Class seats has always allowed discounted Business Class fares to be upgradeable to First.
Now it appears that the policy may be revised to once again allow discount Lufthansa Business Class fares to be eligible for upgrades to First. According the aforementioned thread, it may be that a Lufthansa staffer inadvertently told this ‘HON’ that this change is coming.
The timing of this ‘leak’ may be reasonable since Miles & More is set to announce wide ranging changes to the terms of the program, including a likely shift to a revenue based model as far as earning status is concerned. This widely expected shift would simply be in line with what the rest of the industry has already done, or is in the process of transitioning to.
If this comes to pass it will be a very positive development. My only concern is what will be taken away or changed that will make this positive development seem trivial. Lately, most program changes have taken away more than they have given as far as benefits are concerned.
Expect an announcement from Miles & More in the coming weeks regarding program changes for 2018.
Over the past few hours, the USA and Turkey have banned the issuance of travel visas that effectively bans American citizens from entering Turkey, and vice versa. Turkey issued their ban hours ago after the USA instituted the ban earlier on Monday (October 9).
This comes as part of the American protest over the arrest of a Turkish citizen who worked for the US Embassy in Ankara. The Turks claim the employee has links to Fethullah Gulen, an individual that Turkey believes is behind terrorist attacks within their borders.
Typically, Americans traveling to Turkey simply buy their Visas at the airport in Istanbul or other points of entry and proceed to enter the country with no problem. However, as a result of this suspension this is no longer possible and Americans traveling to Turkey in the near term will not be allowed to enter the country. This ban applies to the online Turkish E-Visa system as well.
Turkish Airline flights between the USA and Turkey have not been impacted thus far. No US based carrier flies to Turkey.
The situation is quite fluid so expect more updates.