Lufthansa is aiming to serve 70 per cent of long-haul destinations by September and could have rebuilt its former short-haul network up to 90 per cent of pre-Corona levels within the same timeframe. The German flag carrier, which also owns Austrian Airlines and SWISS, said its initial focus would be on serving popular vacation hotspots in time for the Summer holiday season.
By the Autumn, Lufthansa will serve destinations across North America more than 100 times per week. Around 90 flights per week are currently planned for Asia, while destinations in the Middle East will be served around 20 times per week.
Austrian Airlines will restart flights to Bangkok, Chicago, New York and Washington from July – the first long-haul flights operated by the airline since March. SWISS is making plans to serve around 85 per cent of its network within the next few months but capacity will only reach one-third of pre-pandemic levels.
Lufthansa has already restored some of its onboard service with Business Class passengers on short-haul flights receiving a standard meal and beverage of their choice. On long-haul flights, a full beverage service has been reintroduced in all classes, while in First and Business Class, passengers will again have their choice of meal from a menu.
Yesterday, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said there were the first signs of an uptick in demand for air travel after hitting its lowest point since records began in April.
“April was a disaster for aviation as air travel almost entirely stopped. But April may also represent the nadir of the crisis,” commented IATA director general Alexandre de Juniac. “Flight numbers are increasing. Countries are beginning to lift mobility restrictions. And business confidence is showing improvement in key markets such as China, Germany, and the US.”
“These are positive signs as we start to rebuild the industry from a stand-still. The initial green shoots will take time—possibly years—to mature.”
That’s a sentiment shared by Lufthansa who only yesterday warned of a slow and painful recovery from the Corona-crisis despite today’s positive news. By next year, the airline plans to have over 300 planes grounded and by 2023, Lufthansa warns it fleet could still be 100 planes smaller than what it was just a few months ago.
Lufthansa lost €1.2 billion in the first three months of the year and is planning an extensive restructuring to weather the COVID-19 storm in the longterm. The airline has also been helped by a €9 billion taxpayer-funded bailout from the German government.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.