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Lufthansa plans launch of new airline and eyes Australia

July 14, 2014 Aviation, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Lufthansa, Europe’s largest airline by revenue, plans to launch a low-cost long-haul carrier sometime next year and Australia could be in its sights.

Speaking to the New York Times, the airline’s chief executive Carsten Spohr, who took the helm in May, said the new airline would begin operations in 2015 and would probably fly out of Munich, Cologne or Düsseldorf. Although Spohr provided few details about what destinations the carrier might serve, it is understood to be looking at popular leisure destinations in Southeast Asia. http://www.pata.org/events/pata-travel-mart-2014

The reconfigured high-density Airbus A340-600 is the aircraft Lufthansa is most likely to use for the task, aviation reporter Ben Sandilands forecasts in his Plane Talking blog on Crikey.com.au.

Lufthansa served Australia for decades and flew its leisure brand Condor to Australia in the mid 1990s after withdrawing its main brand. Thomas Cook later gradually bought out Condor.

Spohr is looking at expanding low-cost services in Europe and possibly intercontinentally, as well as grounding eight planes this winter to help deal with overcapacity. It may be necessary to ground more than that, Spohr confirmed. Lufthansa has already identified its main competition: Middle Eastern and low-cost carriers. A few weeks ago, Lufthansa sharply reduced its profit forecasts for this year and next.

Spohr told Airwise.com that Lufthansa needed to do more to appeal to price-sensitive customers but would risk losing higher-yield business if it did so under its premium brand.

“If you’re on a Lufthansa product, you expect certain elements. If I take them away I hurt my brand,” he told a gathering of analysts in London last Thursday.

Spohr said Lufthansa had no interest in buying a low-cost carrier such as Eastern Europe’s Wizz. It is considered more likely to expand a brand it already owns, like regional carrier Eurowings.

Written by : Peter Needham

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