Category Archives: Germanwings (2nd)

Lufthansa Group to fly to 261 destinations in 101 countries this winter, the A380 to be operated on the Frankfurt – Hong Kong route

Lufthansa Group (Frankfurt) has issued this summary of new services for its upcoming winter schedule effective October 25:

Lufthansa Group logo

The Lufthansa Group Airlines – Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Germanwings, Eurowings, Lufthansa and Swiss – will become even more attractive for leisure travellers this winter, as the airlines are adding more destinations that appeal to tourists and leisure travelers to their schedules. As always, passengers can trust in the first-rate service, the quality and the reliability of the Lufthansa Group.

With the introduction of the new winter schedule on October 25, 2015, the Lufthansa Group Airlines will offer their customers one of the densest route networks worldwide, featuring more than 20,380 flights per week. This winter, via their hubs in Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich, Vienna and Brussels, as well as via many point-to-point routes, the Lufthansa Group Airlines will serve 261 destinations in 101 countries (previous year: 260 destinations in 100 countries). Furthermore, in cooperation with 30 partner airlines, more than 18,000 codeshare flights will round off the respective flight offering, giving passengers access to an almost global network. The winter schedules of the individual Group airlines will apply from Sunday October 25, 2015 until Saturday March 27, 2016.

From October 2, the new price concept on domestic German and European routes will also apply to Austrian Airlines and Lufthansa. In Economy Class, travellers can individually choose between the three graded fare options “Light”, “Classic” and “Flex”. These options vary mainly with regard to the possibility of making advance seat reservations, re-booking or cancelling flights, and permitted free luggage allowances. Since tickets went on sale last July, the new low-priced “Light” fare option has proved popular with customers. For all options, the Lufthansa Group Airlines as a premier airline still permits one free item of hand baggage. Passengers are also offered free snacks and drinks on board, fixed seat allocation at the check-in counter as well as bonuses for “award miles”, “status miles” and “select miles”.

The most important news from the Lufthansa Group Airlines:

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Lufthansa

This winter, Lufthansa will serve 197 destinations and operate a total of 9,900 flights per week. With the introduction of the winter schedule, Lufthansa is expanding its new intercontinental flight offering, which is tailored to the needs of leisure travelers. Tampa (Florida), a new destination since September 25, is the first of several new holiday destinations due to be added to the Lufthansa route network from Frankfurt in the coming months.

From the end of October, Nairobi (Kenya) will be included in the Lufthansa flight schedule, and at the beginning of December, Cancun (Mexico), served mainly by charter flights, Malé (Maldives) and Mauritius will follow, with Panama City rounding off the new timetable in March 2016.

Good news for all Airbus A380 fans: this winter, for the first time, Lufthansa will operate its flagship on the Frankfurt-Hong Kong route. Services from Luxembourg will also be expanded, and with 28 weekly flights from Frankfurt and 24 flights from Munich, the Benelux countries will be served much more frequently than before.

The new winter timetable will offer passengers an hourly connection from Munich to Dusseldorf and Berlin-Tegel. The easy-to-remember flight times, which already apply to connections from Munich to Frankfurt and Hamburg, will now be extended to Dusseldorf and Berlin. Lufthansa flights from Munich to Berlin will take off on the hour, and to Dusseldorf at half past the hour.

This winter, Cape Town will once again be connected with the Munich hub. From October 25, the Airbus A340-600 in a four-class configuration will take off daily for South Africa. Lufthansa customers can also escape the cold winter weather and fly to new destinations in the Canary Islands. On October 25, the new connection between Munich and Fuerteventura will be launched; on October 31 Tenerife will follow. Travelers in search of a new, cooler winter destination will also be able to fly nonstop from Munich to Finland’s largest and most famous winter sports center. From December 19, 2015, Lufthansa will take off every Saturday to Kittilä, 170 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle. The nearby skiing resort of Levi is the largest winter sports center in Lapland.

Germanwings and Eurowings

Germanwings (2nd) (13) logo

In the 2015/2016 winter timetable, Germanwings and Eurowings will offer a wide range of flights to 100 destinations in 36 countries, including intercontinental destinations. Germanwings flights to Berlin-Schönefeld will complement the carrier’s existing services to Berlin. A total of 35 flights per week will take off from Cologne/Bonn and Stuttgart to Berlin-Schönefeld Airport. Germanwings will thus be the only airline flying from Cologne/Bonn and Stuttgart to Berlin’s Tegel and Schönefeld airports.

Eurowings (2014) logo (large)

This winter, for the first time, the new Eurowings will take off from its new Austrian base in Vienna, from where it will operate nonstop services to Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca and London. In November 2015, the airline will launch long-haul flights from Cologne/Bonn Airport with the Airbus A330-200 aircraft. The first of six intercontinental destinations will be Varadero in Cuba. Further destinations will be Phuket and Bangkok in Thailand, Dubai as well as Puerto Plata and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.

Swiss new logo

Swiss

This winter, the new Swiss flagship, the Boeing 777-300 ER, will enter scheduled service on routes from Zurich. From January 2016, the new long-haul aircraft will be deployed on the Zurich-New York route.

With the introduction of the winter timetable, Swiss will boost frequencies on its routes to Sao Paulo (Brazil) and Miami (Florida), and will also expand its services from Geneva to destinations in Russia and Portugal in order to meet seasonal demand. In total, Swiss will thus fly to 105 destinations in 49 countries this winter.

Austrian (2015) logo

Austrian Airlines

In the 2015/2016 winter season, Austrian Airlines will offer its passengers a wide range of flights to as many as 130 destinations in 59 countries. The airline will focus on tourist destinations such as Miami (Florida), which will be served five times a week. From October, it will also offer flights to Mauritius and Colombo (Sri Lanka), and from November, to Marrakesh (Morocco). In response to seasonal demand, Austrian Airlines will thus offer its passengers an attractive range of sunny destinations in the winter as well as in summer.

Brussels Airlines logo

Brussels Airlines

Once again, Belgium’s leading airline is underlining its position as the Africa specialist with the launch on October 26 of a new connection between Brussels Airport and Ghana. From that date, the Ghanaian capital Accra will be served four times a week. The flight schedule offers ideal connections to Germany, France, the UK, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Scandinavia, and the USA.

This winter, Brussels Airlines is also expanding its European flight schedule. The airline will fly to Bremen five times a week, while Zagreb (6 flights/week) and Billund (12 flights/week) will be served for the first time. Last but not least, Brussels Airlines has good news for sun-lovers. The Canary Islands Tenerife and Gran Canaria will be connected twice a week with Brussels Airport. As well as introducing new destinations, Brussels Airlines will increase frequencies on existing routes. During the winter months, more flights will therefore be available to Monrovia (Liberia), Freetown (Sierra Leone), Lomé (Togo), Cotonou (Benin) and Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso).

Top Copyright Photo: Javier Rodriguez/AirlinersGallery.com. Lufthansa’s Airbus A380-841 D-AIML (msn 149) arrives back at the FRA hub.

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Lufthansa Group improves its financial results for the first half of 2015

Lufthansa Group (Lufthansa) (Frankfurt) today issued this financial report for the first half of 2015. The group produced a profit of €954 million ($1.0 billion) for the first six months of 2015, compared to a loss of €79 million ($86.3 million) in the same period a year ago. Here is the group’s report:

Lufthansa Group logo

The Lufthansa Group reports solid business development for the first half of 2015 and improved results in all of its operating segments. The Adjusted EBIT (Earnings Before Interest and Tax) rose by EUR 290 million year-on-year to EUR 468 million. For the six months ended June 30, sales increased by 8.5 percent to EUR 15.4 billion, with traffic revenue accounting for EUR 12.1 billion of that figure.

Yields for the Lufthansa Group’s passenger airlines rose by 2.4 percent in the first half of 2015, which was mainly exchange rate related. Had it not been for the tailwind from a weaker euro, however, yields would have been appreciably lower, in line with expectations.

In the second quarter alone, yields declined by 5.7 percent after adjusting for exchange rate effects. Although unit costs as a whole also rose mainly as a result of currency exchange rates, the EUR 309 million reduction in fuel costs coupled with improved sales and capacity utilization more than compensated for the reduction in prices. All currency effects in the first six months net to a total negative impact of EUR 158 million. The net effect is negative as Lufthansa Group has higher costs in foreign currencies, among others due to fuel spending in US Dollar, compared to the revenue side in foreign currencies.

The Group’s net result for the first six months of the year rose to EUR 954 million, compared with a net loss of EUR 79 million for the same period in the prior year. In addition to a higher operating result, this is mainly due to the increase in the financial result. More than half of the Group’s net result was attributable to an accounting effect resulting from the appreciation in equity capital of EUR 503 million following the redemption of the jetBlue convertible bond in the first quarter. In the second quarter, assessments of interest and exchange rate hedging instruments as well as fuel hedging options had a positive impact, increasing the result by a total of EUR 176 million.

Simone Menne, Chairman of the Financial and Aviation services of Deutsche Lufthansa AG said:

“Our first-half results are solid. Aside from the positive development of our business operating areas and, in particular, our passenger airlines, which gained extra momentum in the second quarter, the fall in fuel costs is largely responsible for the improvement in our results. We will, however, not be misled by that, since we assume that the price level for airline tickets will not recover. We will therefore continue to work consistently on the competitive focus of the Lufthansa Group.”

Swiss new logo

In the second quarter, the Lufthansa Group achieved an Adjusted EBIT margin of 7.6 percent. Lufthansa Passenger Airlines and, in particular, Swiss played a crucial role in this positive development. The Passenger Airline Group recorded a margin of almost 8 percent in the second quarter, with Swiss, with a margin of over 11 percent, posting an exceptionally good result – also in comparison to others in the sector.

 

 

Germanwings (2nd) (13) logo

Germanwings also remains on a successful course, and will close the current year in profit for the first time.

Simone Menne:

“Our strategic focus is right. On the one hand, our premium brands – Lufthansa and Swiss – are very successful, and at the same time Germanwings and Eurowings are also showing good business developments as secondary brands. We are focusing on the premium quality of our hub airlines and the high level of competitiveness of our secondary brands in point-to-point traffic. This approach makes us profitable and fit for the future within the airline market”.

In the first half year, Lufthansa Passenger Airlines improved its result by EUR 181 million, Swiss by EUR 90 million, based on an Adjusted EBIT of EUR 178 million.

Austrian (2015) logo

 

While Austrian Airlines reported a loss of EUR 17 million in the first half-year, it managed to increase the Adjusted EBIT by a solid EUR 27m compared with the previous year.

Lufthansa Cargo logo

 

However, in the second quarter, Lufthansa Cargo was unable to maintain its good performance of the first quarter. With the introduction of the summer timetable, Lufthansa Cargo’s competitors significantly increased their freight capacity in many markets, thereby placing prices under increasing pressure. Eventually, the logistics segment achieved an improvement of EUR 7 million in the Adjusted EBIT to EUR 50 million in the first half-year.

The other business segments also managed to improve their half-year results:

Lufthansa Technik by EUR 41 million to EUR 268 million and LSG SkyChefs by EUR 17 million to EUR 26 million.

The equity ratio rose again to 17.5 percent at the end of the second quarter due to the higher actuarial interest rate and the resultant decrease in pension provisions. The ratio was therewith higher than for the full-year 2014. Although pension liabilities declined as a result of the 2.9 percent increase in the actuarial interest rate, at EUR 6.6bn overall pension liabilities still remain at a very high level.

Simone Menne: “With regard to pension liabilities and equity, it can also be said that developments throughout the second quarter have been positive, even if they were strongly driven by external factors. The need for sustainable structures in our pension scheme and transitional pension arrangements remains unchanged, nevertheless. The ambitious investment program to which we are committed to in the coming years is part of our strategy to ensure our sustainability. In order to generate the necessary funds we need the right conditions in all the business areas and companies within the Lufthansa Group.”

In the first half, operating cash-flow rose by almost 45 percent to EUR 2.5bn. At the end of the first half-year, a free cash flow of just over EUR 1bn was reported – almost double that of the previous year. Against this background, net indebtedness decreased substantially by 31 percent compared to the full-year 2014.

As planned, capital expenditure rose year-on-year. Amongst other things, the delivery of two further Airbus A380s and four Boeing 747-8s as well as the modernization of First and Business Class on the long-haul fleet and the installation of the new Premium Economy Class were contributory factors. Gross expenditure in 2015 will total EUR 2.9 billion. For the following years, a decline in the level of investment to EUR 2.5 billion is planned.

Lufthansa confirms its outlook for the full-year 2015 with an Adjusted EBIT of more than EUR 1.5 million before strike costs.

Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner/AirlinersGallery.com. Lufthansa is approaching the retirement of its remaining Boeing 737 fleet (Boeing 737-300s and 737-500s). The Classic 737 is likely to be retired by the end of the year depending on schedule demand although this remains fluid. Boeing 737-330 D-ABXL (msn 23531) taxies at Zurich.

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Lufthansa and Germanwings are assuming the long-term social care for the relatives of the victims of flight 4U9525

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Lufthansa Group has issued this statement:

Lufthansa and Germanwings are assuming also the long-term responsibility for the outcome of the crash of the Germanwings flight 4U9525. Thus, in particular, children and teenagers who have lost one parent or both parents shall receive support for their education on the long-term. For this purpose a fund of up to €7.8 million shall be made available on a fiduciary account.

Furthermore, an aid fund is being set up, which shall, over a term of three years provide individual support for aid projects of the relatives. Project funds shall be available in the sum of up to €2 million per year. Projects that are related to the victims are those being promoted. A Board of Trustees has been contracted to decide on the fair distribution of the funds, and shall be employed over the coming months.

Besides the financial support memorials shall be set up in four locations affected by the tragedy over the coming months. A commemorative plaque shall be set up at Barcelona airport and at the company headquarters of Germanwings in Cologne. In the vicinity of the location of the crash in Le Vernet a “room of silence” is planned. For the victims from Haltern trees have already been planted on the wish of the bereaved.

The relatives of the victims and their lawyers shall be informed on further compensation over the next few days. As a first step, Germanwings and Lufthansa have paid off an advanced compensation in the amount of €50,000.00 to close relatives.

Lufthansa Cargo to bring home the remains of the victims of Germanwings flight 4U9525

Lufthansa Group (Frankfurt) tomorrow (June 9) will operate a special Lufthansa Cargo (Frankfurt) McDonnell Douglas MD-11F flight from Marseille to Dusseldorf which will bring home the remains of the victims of Germanwings (Cologne/Bonn) ill-fate flight 4U9525 which crashed in the French Alps. Transfer of the remains to the victim’s families will occur on June 10. Lufthansa Cargo will operate more flights in the coming weeks until the end of June. The group issued this statement:

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Lufthansa is working with all its available resources to ensure the repatriation and transfer of victims of the Germanwings flight 4U9525 to the relatives in the originally planned schedule. To start off the repatriation flights, Lufthansa will arrange at short notice a special flight with a MD-11 of Lufthansa Cargo from Marseille to Dusseldorf. The plane will take off from Marseille on June 9 at 20:50 and is expected at Dusseldorf at 22:30. There will be 30 coffins of the victims of flight 4U9525 on board.

The repatriation of the victims was initially scheduled for next week. At short notice, however, a delay had resulted due to regulatory requirements. The Federal Government Commissioner for the victims’ relatives had then turned immediately to the authorities and received assurances that preparations for repatriation could be made immediately.

After this first special flight to Dusseldorf, the other victims will be gradually transferred to their home countries in the coming weeks. The French authorities are working hard in order to create the formal conditions for the transfer of the victims as soon as possible. Lufthansa is in close contact with the relatives to ensure that the transfer of the victims is carried out according to the relatives’ wishes.

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Copyright Photo: Pascal Simon/AirlinersGallery.com. McDonnell Douglas MD-11F D-ALCM (msn 48805) departs from the Frankfurt cargo hub.

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Lufthansa Group reports a first quarter profit of €425 million ($474 million)

The Lufthansa Group (Frankfurt) reported a net profit of €425 million ($474 million) for the first quarter. Here is the full report:

Lufthansa Group logo

The Lufthansa Group has reported a positive course of business for the first quarter of 2015. At total revenue of nearly 8 per cent higher, the EBIT and adjusted EBIT both rose by EUR 73m. Both key performance indicators were thus 30 per cent higher than in the previous year. The Group closed the first quarter with an adjusted EBIT of EUR -167 m (previous year: EUR -240 m).

Simone Menne, Chief Officer Finance and Aviation Services of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, says: “All operating business segments were able to increase their results in the first quarter. Above all, Swiss International Air Lines (Zurich) and Lufthansa Cargo (Frankfurt) have done better than in the previous year. But Lufthansa German Airlines has also shown a positive development, although it was worse hit by strikes and other one-off effects than in the previous year.”

The Group result rose significantly more strongly than the adjusted EBIT in the reporting period. With a plus of EUR 677 m in comparison with the same quarter in the previous year, the Lufthansa Group achieved a consolidated result of EUR 425 m. An extraordinary effect from the premature exchange of JetBlue swaps made a significant contribution to this development. This transaction alone improved the financial result without an effect on equity by EUR 503m.

The result was once again overshadowed by the consequences of the strike called by the trade union Cockpit among the pilots of Lufthansa German Airlines, Lufthansa Cargo and Germanwings on a total of six days between January and March 2015. Flight cancellations caused by strikes led to a burden on the result of EUR 42m. Due to weaker advance bookings in the following quarters as a consequence of the strike, Lufthansa expects a further burden on the result of EUR 58m.

Cash flows, which are important in view of high total investments, developed positively in the reporting period. Cash flow from operating activities rose to EUR 1,394m (previous year: EUR 855m), the free cash flow improved to EUR 532m (previous year: EUR 195m).

The actuarial interest rate for valuing pension obligations declined further in the first three months of the year, in Germany from 2.6 per cent to 1.7 per cent now. Thus the arithmetic pension burden rose by EUR 3.4bn. This was contrasted with a growth in pension assets of around EUR 500m. The equity ratio fell by 5.7 percentage points to 7.5 per cent now.

“This development shows once again how volatile the key figure ‘equity ratio’ has become since the introduction of the new IFRS accounting standards. We are not alone in this situation. However, other groups have already made the necessary structural change from a cover oriented to a contributions oriented pension commitment. Here, more urgently than ever, we need sustainably financeable solutions in place of obsolete structures. We can only achieve this together with our collective bargaining partners,” says Simone Menne.

Operating costs and income showed strong fluctuations in comparison with the same quarter in the previous year. What was decisive here was the significantly lower oil price, the continuing weakness of the euro and low interest rates. Fuel costs were EUR 209m lower than in the same quarter in the previous year, while expenses on fees went up by nearly 7 per cent, despite the lower number of flights and passengers. The weak euro and the rise in pension expenses also led to an increase in staff costs of nearly 7 per cent.

Simone Menne summarised the interim report for the first three months of the year: “We see positive developments in the result and in cash flow. This shows we are on the right course. At the same time, we continue to see great pressure to act. The enormous pension burdens are putting considerable pressure on our equity. And we cannot accept the continuing increase in fees or the development of our unit costs. Great efforts remain to be made here in order to strengthen the international competitiveness of all the business segments of the Lufthansa Group.”

Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner/AirlinersGallery.com. Swiss and Lufthansa Cargo did better than in the same quarter than the previous year. The aging Swiss Airbus A340-300s will be replaced with the new Boeing 777-300 ERs on order. A340-313 HB-JMK (msn 169) taxies at the Zurich hub.

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The New York Times: FAA raised questions about Andreas Lubitz’s depression before Germanings crash

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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) (Washington) raised questions in 2010 on whether it should have granted a pilot’s license to Andreas Lubitz according to report by the New York Times. Lubitz in March flew his Germanwings Airbus A320 into a mountain in the French Alps killing all aboard.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Germanwings’ Lubitz informed the Pilot School that he had a “previous episode of severe depression”, Lufthansa cancels its 60th Anniversary celebrations

Andreas Lubitz

Germanwings’ (2nd) (Cologne/Bonn) First Officer Andreas Lubitz “informed the Flight Training Pilot School in 2009, in the medical documents he submitted in connection with resuming his flight training, about a “previous episode of severe depression” according to a Lufthansa statement after an internal review. Despite this, Lubitz was deemed fit to fly after receiving his medical certificate.

Lufthansa has issued this full statement:

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The co-pilot of Germanwings flight 4U 9525 interrupted his pilot training at the Flight Training Pilot School for several months. Thereafter the co-pilot received the medical certificate confirming his fitness to fly.

To ensure a swift and seamless clarification, Lufthansa – after further internal investigations – has submitted additional documents to the Düsseldorf Public Prosecutor, particularly training and medical documents. These also include the email correspondence of the copilot with the Flight Training Pilot School. In this correspondence he informed the Flight Training Pilot School in 2009, in the medical documents he submitted in connection with resuming his flight training, about a “previous episode of severe depression”.

Lufthansa will continue to provide the investigating authorities with its full and unlimited support. We therefore ask for your understanding that we cannot provide any further statements at this time, because we do not wish to anticipate the ongoing investigation by the Düsseldorf Public Prosecutor.

As already confirmed last Thursday to the public the co-pilot held a fully valid class 1 medical certificate during flight duty on March 24, 2015.

In other news, Lufthansa is canceling its 60th Anniversary celebrations. The company issued this statement:

Out of respect for the crash victims of flight 4U 9525 Lufthansa is canceling the originally planned festivities for the 60th anniversary of the company, which was planned for April 15, 2015.

Instead of the originally planned anniversary event, Lufthansa will provide a live broadcast for its employees, of the official state ceremony in the Cologne Cathedral on the 17th of April 2015, where the bereaved families and friends will gather to remember the victims.

Photo: FO Andreas Lubitz from his Facebook page.