Over the last few days, German media has been reporting a new concept being considered by Lufthansa to further enhance cost savings when it comes to flight operations out of the hubs in Europe.
Lufthansa’s Harry Hohmeister has unveiled plans that will create a potentially new ‘Flexible Routing’ fare that will allow Lufthansa to change already issued tickets for passengers willing to be more flexible in their trip routing.
The reasoning behind this concept will allow Lufthansa to self-direct passenger flow through hubs based on demand and pricing. For example, Frankfurt Airport charges Lufthansa up to 20% more for handling long haul LH flights and passengers than Munich, Zurich, or Vienna charge. Having passengers reroute through lower cost hubs obviously would net a positive impact on LH’s bottom line. In their planning, LH would be able to determine in advance if other hubs and flights have capacity to handle last minute changes. If not, the flex fare passenger would fly their original ticket.
An example could look like:
A passenger books a flight from Chicago to Berlin. The original booking would have the passenger transit through Frankfurt enroute to Berlin. Under a flex routing fare, Lufthansa could re-ticket the passenger a few days before the flight to have them fly Chicago – Munich – Berlin, Chicago – Vienna – Berlin, or Chicago – Zurich – Berlin and thus avoid the extra costs associated with routing a passenger through the more pricey Frankfurt.
Passengers flying under a flex routing fare would be informed days or weeks ahead of their trip, letting them know if their original routing has changed.
Please understand that only a ‘flex routing’ fare class would subject a passenger to a last minute rerouting. Passengers flying on traditional fare classes would not be subject to these kind of changes.
Lufthansa has already sent a ‘shot across the bow’ to Frankfurt by announcing a transfer of 5 A380 aircraft to Munich, thus already reducing capacity at Frankfurt and potentially preparing for the roll out of the new flex-routing fares and increasing capacity in Munich.
In his comments, Hohmeister indicated that passengers agreeing to a flex routing fare would be well rewarded for their willingness to be flexible.
Plans are in place to unveil the new program for Lufthansa and Austrian operated flights at the beginning of 2018.
Earlier this morning, LUFTHANSA released a series of announcements including the launch of a new USA destination, the introduction of A380 aircraft to Munich, a return to Singapore and more flights to Chicago!
First, Lufthansa has announced that it will begin flying between Frankfurt and San Diego in 2018. Though no specifics were announced, they did indicate that the flight will be operated 5 times a week. I suspect that the flights will begin sometime in the March-April timeframe.
Next, LH also announced that 5 A380 aircraft will be transferred from Frankfurt to their new home in Munich and will serve ultra-long haul destinations such as Hong Kong, Los Angeles, and Beijing. This will take place in time for the Summer 2018 timetable.
Additionally, LH indicated that it will once again offer service between Munich and Singapore beginning with the Summer 2018 schedule. Initial plans indicated that the flight will operate 5 times a week.
And lastly, Lufthansa has announced that it will increase service between Munich and Chicago. Currently, LH flies to ORD 7 times a week, with the new announcement, there will be 10 flights per week beginning with the Summer 2018 schedule.
Beginning in Summer 2018, Lufthansa’s low cost carrier, Eurowings, will begin serving Frankfurt as the LH Group seeks to stem the competition coming from other European LCCs.
In an article published in Airliners.de, Eurowings boss Karl Ulrich Garnadt stated that due to the pressures seen coming from Ryanair and others, it made good business sense to counter the new competition. Ryanair plans to begin service to Frankfurt this spring.
Such a move is made easier due to the fact that Eurowings will inherit 33 aircraft in the coming months after Lufthansa agreed to lease the aircraft from Air Berlin. This is of course in addition to the aircraft that will join Eurowings after the acquisition of Brussels Airlines closes. In all, the Eurowings fleet will grow to nearly 120 aircraft making it easier to operate from large hubs and to take on their competitors directly.
Previously, Eurowings announced that it will begin flying from Lufthansa’s other Mega-Hub in Munich in March. The initial timetable calls for flights to 32 cities throughout Europe, mostly towards ‘Holiday’ type destinations.
A few days ago, Lufthansa updated their timetable to reflect a switch in aircraft that will be used between Frankfurt and Detroit.
Beginning July 2, Lufthansa will begin flying the 747-400 on their daily flight to the Motor City, replacing the A340-300 that has been on the route until now. This will be the case at least for the Summer timetable which expires on September 29. LH will most likely downgage the route to a smaller aircraft for Winter 2017/18, but at least for the Summer and early Fall, passengers can enjoy the Queen of the Skies from DTW.
This covers flight LH442 that departs FRA at 10:00a and arrives in Detroit at 12:40p, and LH443 that departs Detroit at 3:50p, arriving in Frankfurt at 5:40a the following morning.
Lufthansa has announced a handful of new destinations for their Summer 2017 timetable. In all 6 new cities will be added beginning on March 27 and the new flights are open for reservations.
Flight info as follows:
Frankfurt – Bordeaux effective April 2 will begin 2x/week service (Thursday/Sunday). Flights will be operated by A319 aircraft.
Frankfurt – Heringsdorf effective April 15 will begin 1x/week service (Saturday). Flights will be operated by CRJ aircraft.
Frankfurt – Santiago de Compostela effective March 27 will begin 3x/week service (Monday/Thursday/Friday). Flights will be operated by A319 aircraft.
Frankfurt – Shannon effective April 29 will begin 1x/week service (Saturday). The route will be flow by A319 aircraft.
Munich – Nantes effective March 28 will begin 4x/week service (Tuesday/Thursday/Friday/Saturday). The Friday flight will be operated by an A320, all other flights will be flown by A319 aircraft.
Munich – Santiago de Compostela effective April 9 will begin 1x/week service (Sunday). The route will be flown by A320 aircraft.
In addition to these route commencements, Lufthansa has also announced that it will suspend service between Frankfurt and Tokyo Narita between January 9 and March 25. It reappears on their booking engine for flights on March 26, 2017 and beyond.