One of Lufthansa’s most historic and important pieces of ‘DNA’ has finally been recognized for her achievements and contributions as she approaches her 80th Birthday.
Many of you will recognize the phrase ‘Tante Ju’. If you do not, it is the term of endearment bestowed upon Lufthansa’s Junkers Ju52 that had been saved and restored. Most importantly, it is still in active passenger service and graces airports all around Europe during summers.
Personally, I came within a thunderstorm of being one of her passengers. Unfortunately, my flight was cancelled and I’ll have to try again this year…..
Built in 1936, this gem has recently been honored by the Heritage of Hamburg Cultural Authority by being designated as a moving “Historic Monument”. With this designation, ‘Tante Ju’ has been officially recognized as a part of commercial aviation history and will be protected by all the rules and regulations that are afforded to historic landmarks.
In order to receive this recognition, an aircraft needs to be at least 30 years old and must have been restored and preserved to its original condition. Additionally a commitment needed to be made by her care takers to continue providing this kind of care.
Old meets new when this A380 and Ju52 met up in Hamburg – photo courtesy of Lufthansa
Today, Tante Ju is in the good hands of Lufthansa Berlin Stiftung whose sole responsibility is to preserve and restore some of Lufthansa’s most iconic aircraft. For those of you unaware, you can actually purchase tickets for touring flights on ‘Tante Ju’ that are held at airports throughout Germany (and even some parts of Europe) during the summer. For more information on her schedule and booking tickets, click here. Please note that tickets tend to sell out quickly!
As is stands now, ‘Tante Ju’ will be officially honored with this Historic Moving Monument designation at a special ceremony to be held during Hamburg Airport Days in August.
Today (February 19) marks another important milestone in the evolution of Lufthansa as a major global airline.
On February 19, 1965 Lufthansa announced it would be the “Launch Customer” for Boeing’s 737. The initial order for 21 aircraft would be the first time that a Non-US based carrier would be a launch customer for a new model from Boeing. Over the course of time, Lufthansa would ultimately operate 155 737s. The cost of initial order was 65 million US dollars. Adjusted for 2014 it would be valued at approximately 475 million US dollars. The first Lufthansa 737 entered service on February 10, 1968 and LH would ultimately operate 155 737s over the years.
This was the first time that a jet was being designed specifically for short haul markets. Previously, jets were primarily used for transcontinental travel, but with the emergence of air travel’s popularity, it had become necessary to provide jet service on shorter distances. In Boeing’s development of the 737, Lufthansa played a vital role in the engineering of the aircraft. Professor Gerhard Holtje, Lufthansa’s board member in charge of engineering at the time was instrumental in the design of the new aircraft that would become the work horse of airlines the world over. This also put Lufthansa’s mark on the map as a significant and influential member of the airline community.
Some interesting facts:
* Approximately 8100 Boeing 737 (including various derivatives) have been manufactured.
*Boeing still builds approximately 45 737s EACH Month!
* There is a 737 landing or taking off every 5 seconds.
* 737’s have carried over 12 billion passengers
* 737’s have flown approximately 65 billion miles (120 billion km)
* The 737 represents approximately 25 percent of the global airline fleet.
Today, Lufthansa still operates 22 737s but it is phasing them out as more efficient aircraft are delivered to the fleet. I had a chance to witness the retirement of a 737 and was in Tulsa when it landed at Lufthansa Technical Component Services where it would be ‘decommissioned’. The last of the 737s should disappear from LH’s fleet by next year.
A very early 737…courtesy of Wikimedia.
59 years ago today, on February 11, 1956, Lufthansa put pen to paper and committed to the purchase of 4 Boeing 707 aircraft. It would be Lufthansa’s first step in advancing their fleet into the Jet Age and there would be no looking back. At that point in time, Boeing was on the -400 series of the 707 and Lufthansa would be the first customer of this latest iteration.
The first of the 707-400s, registered as D-ABOB, was completed in November 1959 and took its first flight on December 18, 1959. It would be delivered to Lufthansa on February 3, 1960 at which point it was christened as ‘Hamburg’.
Over the course of over 25 years, Lufthansa would own and operate 23 707 aircraft. The last Lufthansa 707, D-ABUF (Hannover) was retired on May 7, 1984.
The last ever 707 operated by an airline for scheduled passenger service was flown by Iran’s Saha Airlines until April 2013.
Lufthansa’s First 707, D-ABOB / Hamburg. Courtesy of Piergiuliano Chesi (Wikimedia Commons)
39 years ago today, on February 2, 1976, Lufthansa welcomed its first ever Airbus aircraft when an Airbus A300 was delivered to the airline.
The A300 served as a short and medium-haul wide body aircraft on high density routes within Europe, North Africa, Russia, the Middle East, and even to the East Coast of the USA.
Lufthansa would ultimately operate 25 A300s (14 A300-600, 6 A300-B2 and 5 A300-B4 variants) over the course of 33 years, finally retiring the last A300 on July 1, 2009.
Lufthansa A300 in Paris (Courtesy of Christian Volpati / Wikimedia Commons)
Typical Seat Map
December 2 marks the anniversary of the agreement signed between Luftag (predecessor to today’s Lufthansa) and Hamburg Airport in 1953 which allowed for the construction of Lufthansa’s first postwar Technik Maintenance Facility. For those of you unfamiliar with Luftag, it was the national German airline created in 1953 and changed it’s name to Lufthansa in 1954.
Today, the facility is home to Technik’s Headquarters employing 7,500 employees and takes up 750,000 square meters of Hamburg’s Airfield.
Thanks to Lufthansa’s Media Archives, here are a few images of the very early days of Technik:
The site prior to construction
The first hangar at Technik Hamburg
One of Lufthansa's first aircraft, a Convair CV-340 at Technik in Hamburg
From it’s humble beginnings, it has grown into a state of the art facility:
For those familiar with Lufthansa Technik, you’ll know that it is one of the world’s premier Aircraft Maintenance operations. Airlines and private customers from the world over utilize Technik’s expertise when it comes to aircraft maintenance, renovation and upgrades.
Since it’s inception, Technik has grown into an organization comprised of 6 divisions: Maintenance, Overhaul, Component Services, Engine Services, VIP Services and Landing Gear Services. Worldwide, Technik has over 750 customers who use their services.
Though initially an internal division of Deutsche Lufthansa Airlines AG, in 1994 Technik was branched out to be it’s own separate entity within the Lufthansa Group.
To learn more about Technik’s Hamburg Facility, please visit Technik’s dedicated webpage for the location.