Opening of new runway allows further growth in Frankfurt
After more than ten years in the planning, the new Northwest runway went into service at the Frankfurt hub in October 2011. Following years of overload this urgently necessary extension had an immediate effect on the operating performance and quality of this hub, bringing substantial improvements. At the same time, this paved the way for further growth at Frankfurt airport. In addition to better connections to existing destinations, Lufthansa Passenger Airlines also used the extension to expand its route network to Rio de Janeiro, Aberdeen and other destinations for example. Another eight seasonal destinations were added to the route network right from the summer flight timetable 2011 in order to make Lufthansa even more attractive, especially in the leisure travel sector.
In 2011 Lufthansa took delivery of more Airbus A380s and by the end of 2011 had put eight aircraft of this type in service to seven destinations. Operations with the A380 run very smoothly and from both a customer and a financial perspective the aircraft has been a complete success.
Further growth potential also in Munich and in decentralised traffic
The Munich hub also extended its route portfolio in 2011. Five seasonal summer destinations were added, as were Jakarta and Jeddah from the winter. Altogether, Lufthansa therefore served nearly 100 European destinations from Munich in winter 2011, with around 2,260 flights a week.
Since the end of July 2011 it has also been confirmed that the Munich international hub shall get a third runway, prospectively available for service from 2015. A decision in favour of a satellite building to expand Terminal 2 was taken back in spring 2011. The capital expenditure of EUR 650m will be shared by Lufthansa and the Munich airport operator.
The pressure of competition is still particularly high in point-to-point traffic outside the hubs, particularly from carriers like Air Berlin and Easyjet. The sub-project EU-DIRection launched by Climb 2011 in the second half of 2009 was pursued with the aim of restoring direct traffic to profitability. Compared with the project start date, cumulative unit cost reductions (not including fuel) have now reached more than 30 per cent. This also entailed decommissioning all 50-seaters in 2011 and replacing them with larger aircraft like the Bombardier CRJ900 and the Airbus A320. At the same time, the seats in the Lufthansa Passenger Airlines European fleet were replaced with new, lighter seating. Losses in European traffic were halved in 2011 compared with the previous year. Following the successful deployment of the Airbus A330 from Dusseldorf across the North Atlantic, expansion eastwards to Asia is planned in 2012.