Archive for the 'Lufthansa' Category

Lufthansa Shopping Around Europe

Lufthansa Logo

Lufthansa, the German flag carrier has been one of the most successful airlines in Europe in recent years and a leader in the Star Alliance. They have made very strong relationships with the other European Star Alliance members by sharing loyalty programs (pushing through their own Miles & More program to be used by others), promoting strong code-share agreements, etc. They have also assured to have an insight and some influence over at least some of their fellow European Star partners by having minority stakes in British bmi and the Scandinavian SAS. Lufthansa has also made a strong partnership with Italian Air One in 2000 – this is a nowadays often heard name, as Air One is merging with the nearly-collapsed Alitalia to form the new Italian flag-carrier.

Swiss logo 1. SWISS International Airlines (2005)

Other European carriers may have also had some similar agreements in place, but no minority ownership in other airlines, until only a few years ago. Then in 2004 Air France merged with KLM, creating Air France-KLM and created the world’s largest Airline in terms of annual revenue in those days. As an answer, Lufthansa purchased the bankrupt Swiss International Airlines in March 2005, which was also officially communicated as a merger, but in reality it was a take-over by the Germans. Swiss has been turned around and is making profit these days – thus it is living proof that Lufthansa may be very successful in acquiring other airlines and merging them into its extended line of subsidiaries that contain smaller, regional partners such as Air Dolomiti, Lufthansa CityLine, Augsburg Airways just to name a few. Obviously Swiss became a much bigger subsidiary than these others by keeping its own brand and identity but sharing the coherences.

JetBlue logo

2. jetBlue (2007)

Then, two years after the succussful Swiss take-over, Lufthansa began airline shopping in late 2007. First it purchased a 19% stake in the American low-cost airline, JetBlue and announced extended partnerships.

Brussels_Airlines_Logo3. Brussels Airlines (2008)

But in 2008, Lufthansa really shifted gears and became the main advocate and driver of airline consolidation around Europe. Basically any airline sales that have happened this year, included Lufthansa as a potential buyer at some point, but more interestingly in a number of cases they turned out to be the actual buyers. On September 15 2008, Lufthansa announced a relative surprise 45% stake acquisition in Brussels Airlines, just two weeks after the first rumours of such a tie-up. It is interesting as Brussels Airlines has not been a member of Star Alliance (has been an outsider to any airline alliances actually), and is a result of a merger by itself, that happened not so long ago. In 2006 SN Brussels Airlines (replacement of the earlier bankrupt Sabena) merged with Virgin Express, a Richard Branson owned low-cost carrier to create the largest Belgian airlines. Lufthansa now owns 45% of it, but has an option to purchase the remaining 55% by 2011. Brussels Airlines is bound to gain full membership to Star Alliance in the coming years as a result. During the merger process it was revealed that Brussels Airlines was also in talks with British Airways, but that deal has fallen through.

Over the course of 2008, Lufthansa was also mentioned as a potential buyer of SAS, or its subsidiary in Spain: Spanair. They are both members of Star, so it would have been a logical step. (The Spanair interest has been expressed already in 2007 as we reported.) However, a Spanair flight suffered a very bad, deadly accident on August 20th, 2008, following of which Lufthansa seems to have given up on purchasing the SAS lead airline group that fell into heavy losses after the accident.

bmi logo4. bmi (British Midland) (2008)

But let’s not forget the large UK market, where as said earlier, LH has held a minority stake (30%-1 share) in the second largest local player on the market: bmi. The current majority stakeholder, Sir Michael Bishop has 50%+1 share, with the remaining 20% being owned by the Scandinavian SAS Airlines group. Lufthansa is planning to purchase the stakes of Sir Bishop (who expressed his intentions of selling his stakes to the Germans in late October, 2008), with which they would become the 80% owner of the second largest British Airlines, and the airlines holding the second largest number of take-off and landing slots at London Heathrow airport, the biggest European Gateway to North-America. This sale is expected at around GBP 314 Million, which at the time of the announcement was worth around EUR 400 Million. By the time the sale is concluded sometime in January 2009, it may cost less for the Germans due to the recent weakness of the Pound against the Euro. Having mentioned Sir Richard Branson’s name in connection with Brussels Airlines above, both parties have confirmed that should Lufthansa become the majority owner of bmi, he would very much like to link up the long-haul operations of his Virgin Atlantic Airways with the short and medium haul flights of bmi – to create a realistic competition to British Airways in the UK. Virgin Atlantic Airways President Richard Branson said in December that “talks will take place with Lufthansa, maybe are taking place, to see whether it makes sense for the two companies to work together,” the Associated Press reported.

Update: On 18MAY2009, the takeover bid has been approved by the European Commission.

austrian_airlines_logo5. Austrian Airlines (2008)

On the other hand, Lufthansa quickly turned its focus towards the recently loss-making Austrian Airlines, a long-time close Star Alliance partner. The Austrian Government was selling off the majority stake of its own flag-carrier over the course of October-November, 2008. There are some controversial details to the final bidding process where AirFrance-KLM had dropped its bid, but after all, Lufthansa was announced as the winner of this privatization effort. This sounds like a logical step, based on their long-time partnership. The deal is expected to be closed by January 2009.

Update (29AUG2009): It took much longer than expected, but finally on 28AUG, the European Commission has officially approved Lufthansa’s acquisition of Austrian Airlines Group. Lufthansa alleviated antitrust concerns by agreeing to reduce service between five European cities (Frankfurt, Munich, Stuttgart, Cologne and Brussels) and Vienna.

Update (05FEB2010): All remaining shares in Austrian Airlines Group held by minority shareholders have been transferred to Lufthansa subsidiary Osterreichische Luftverkehrs Holding by order of the Vienna Commercial Court. Share certificates are redeemable for cash compensation, Lufthansa said. In December it said it would pay €0.50 ($0.70) for each outstanding share. Austrian Airlines Group is expected to be delisted from the Vienna Stock Exchange soon.

germanwings logo6. Germanwings (2008)

Another late 2008 announcement saw Lufthansa taking full ownership of the German low-cost carrier, Germanwings (established in 1997), that was owned by Eurowings, a Dortmund based regional air carrier. To twist this story, Lufthansa has been holding a 49% stake in Eurowings since 2006 with full control as parent company, thus it was already partial owner of Germanwings before the announcement in December, 2008, that it will fully take it over as of January 1, 2009.

7. What’s next in 2009?

Looking at the dynamics of Lufthansa shopping around Europe for other airlines, we are sure they will continue in 2009. But what could be their next target(s)?

  • Alitalia
    The Italian flag-carrier is just being reorganized and the new owners are looking for a strategic partner, which could be either Lufthansa (given their strong relationship to Air One, it would make sense) or Air France-KLM (they have been cooperating with Alitalia and are all in SkyTeam). And let’s not forget that Lufthansa has been interested in Alitalia all along the long and rocky road to its privatization.
    Update (09JAN2009): Lufthansa confirmed that it did not make an offer for Alitalia in the end, and prefers to work with its Star Alliance partners in the Italian market. Air France-KLM will hold a minority stake in the reorganized Italian flag-carrier.
  • SAS / Spanair
    Given the earlier speculations and shared Star Alliance interests, a partial or majority stake exchange or merger could still happen between Lufthansa and SAS or SAS subsidiary Spanair.
    Update (02FEB2009): SAS has sold its 80.1% stake in Spanair for €1 ($1.31), leaving SAS with the remainder. This practically rules out Lufthansa buying the Spanish carrier, but would still offer the possibility for a stake in SAS.
  • LOT Polish Airlines
    The Polish government is planning to sell all or at least part of the national carrier of Poland that has been in Star Alliance and has been cooperating with Lufthansa for quite some time.
  • TAP Portugal
    We don’t know about TAP being up for sale, but would not be surprised if Lufthansa would simply buy the fellow Star Alliance member that would give them a much larger presence in South-America.
  • CSA Czech Airlines
    I wouldn’t bet on such a tie-up, but given the aggressiveness of the Germans, if and when CSA will be up for privatization, they may join the tender process, just in case…
    Update: Lufthansa had not turned in an offer for CSA.
  • Regional carriers
    There are a number of regional flag-carriers of smaller European countries that could theoretically be of interest to Lufthansa next year, such as those Star Alliance associates on the Balkans (Croatia Airlines and Adria Airways) or any of the small carriers in the Baltic states.

If Lufthansa will keep its course and will continue to be shopping around Europe for airlines in 2009, we’ll be here to keep you updated! And of course the other two major European players (Air France-KLM and British Airways) will also have to speed up their consolidation plans if they want to cooperate with any airline in Europe, before Lufthansa buys them all…

by balint01

Lufthansa Plane Landing in Strong Crosswind

Over the past weekend, we have experienced some strange weather all around Europe, with really strong winds and huge storms. There was one major incident reported, where a Lufthansa plane flying from München attempted to land in Hamburg, in a really-really strong sidewind. The report mentioned that the wing has touched the runway, but if you take a look at this footage of the actual landing attempt, you’ll see that it was not just a small touch… The plane landed safely at the second try.

The Airports in Münich and Frankfurt were closed for several hours on Saturday as well.

I suppose there were several other tough landings around the airports of Western Europe over the weekend, very similar ones to this, which was recorded earlier, in January this year, at London City Airport, by a Swiss AvroLiner. We can really see how important the landing gears are to such airliners…

[Kata and Gábor, thanks for the links!]

Here is a collection of other crosswind landings.

by balint01

Russian Authorities Blocked Lufthansa’s Accounts

According to local media, Russian taxation authorities closed down the accounts of Lufthansa in Russia. The radical step was necessary, because Lufthansa accumulated an EUR 5-7 million tax debt – Russian taxation office said.

They added there was a debate between the company and the authority about the understanding and adaptation of local tax regulations. The amount of money blocked on the accounts of Lufthansa is not known.

There had been conflicts between Lufthansa and Russian authorities earlier as well. Last October Lufthansa’s cargo company (Lufthansa Cargo) was not allowed to fly in to Russian aerospace due to a debate about the usage of aerospace over the country and the authority banned Lufthansa Cargo from entering Russia without any preliminary notification on 28 October 2007.

(Source: dpa) 

 By Szafi

Best Of AirlineWorld 2007

This is the last day of the year. As billions of people around the world, we also took a look back to what happened in the old year and made some New Year’s Resolutions.

For us 2007 was not a full year as we started our blog in June. It was a nice calm Sunday and Szafi wrote her first post about the Radio Alphabet – a useful tool not just for aviation fans. Balint01 joined her on the 7th with his first post about “Fuller Planes – Good Or Bad?” – a brief explanation of revenue and capacity management of airlines.

A380 

A380 was one of our main topics this year. We could see the a video of an imaginery evacuation of an A380, we reported on that quite unusual initiation that Singapore Airlines sold the first tickets to the A380 on e-Bay and gave the money (USD 1,25 million) for charity. We tried to find out more about the possible cabin configurations and then we reported on the first delivery.

Boeing 787

Boeing 787, the Dreamliner was our other favorite topic. We wrote about it when it was revealed, we put it in our blog header, we reported on the first announcement of delay that predicted 2 months. Now it seems that a 6-month delay is more realistic.

Developments 

Besides A380 and B787 we saw the birth of a Russian jet called Sukhoi Superjet and a Chinese one called ARJ21-700. We kept track of technology trends in aviation. We wrote an article about RFID usage at airlines and airports, about e-ticketing, a new online payment method at Qantas, a weightless flight, a solar powered, unmanned aircraft. Also we were interested in service developments such as the new Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at London Heathrow Airport, Lufthansa’s new A380 First Class Concept, Boeing’s 747 development to keep up with A380,

Crashes 

Unfortunately again some serious accidents happened. We saw around 200 people dying in a very tragical crash in Sao Paulo, brazil. 19 people died in an accident of Air Moorea on the way to Tahiti. When China Airline’ 737 burst into fire and blew up, everybody could escape in time thanks to the flight crew, who was criticized for being rude – we thought it was better being rude than being inactive. Later it turned out that a loose bolt caused the fire. There was a sad collision of two planes at an Air Show in Radom, Poland. SAS Airlineshad a bad series of crash landings – without serious injuries – of its Dash 8 turboprop planes. Finally they decided on grounding all their Dash 8 fleet. 87 died in One-Two-Go Airlines crash in Phuket, Thailand. A few days later rallye driver champion Colin McRae died in a helicopter crash over Scotland. The most commented article was the weird accident of an Airbus A340 on the ground of the Airbus factory during testing. The last serious accident of the year was an MD-83 crash in Turkey killing 56.

Photo reports 

We received a lot of photos from our friends and airline enthusiasts, so we could show a photo report of a Royal Aircraft in Budapest, Red Bull Air Race in Budapest, an Air Show in Kecskemet and the A340 Airbus crash at the Toulouse Airbus factory.

Innovations 

We criticized airlines and other players of the industry about wrong steps and we were happy to present good initiations of other players. We found KLM’s promotion: a gift of a costmetics set for online bookers a very smart and useful initiation. We loved Iberia’s enviroment-friendly attitude with naming their new aircrafts Royal Owl, Imperial Eagle and other endangered species. We could read funny comments about an interesting topic: Vatican’s Air Mistral. IATA’s initiation of a greener aviation industry was also worth a post.

Sex and rock and roll 

And finally we tried to entertain those not interested in professional matters of the airline business with articles like Sex in an airplane, Sexy stewardess uniforms – with special attention to the self-designed uniform of Easyjet, Superstar pilots, Special aircraft paintings and we learned about where lost luggage end up going.

We also lost a very key figure of the European airline indusry. Tony Ryan, the founder of Ryanair died on 03 October at the age of 71. Net year we will definately write an article about him, because only a few know about his role in today’s aviation business.

And what is our New Year’s resolution? Well, we’ll do our best to entertain you and draw your attention to the magic world of airlines we so much love.

We both wish you a very happy, successful new year and please keep on reading us! 🙂

By Szafi and balint01

Air France – KLM EUR 1 Billion Offer For Alitalia

Alitalia has been struggling with financial difficulties for a long time. In the past few months more airlines were bidding for it, but in the end all of them backed down.

Thus today’s news were surprising, that finally Air France – KLM offered Eur 1 billion for it. According to gossips in the industry another offer is expected from Lufthansa.

Alitalia is making loss of EUR 2 million per day and so far no investors were interested in buying it.

By Szafi 

Special Aircraft Paintings

Hungarian beauty queen, giant salmon, flying panda, Mickey Mouse, Santa hit by a plane. What do they have in common? They were all used by airlines for marketing purposes, thus as aircraft paintings they all made our blue sky more colorful. Following the success of our earlier post about Sexy Stewardess Uniforms, we collected the most extravagant aircraft paintings.

The outfit of the aircrafts is one of the most important image tool of all airlines. Although there have been some airlines that sold the aircraft’s body for commercial purposes, still aircraft paintings are used for image strengthening. Here are the best aircraft paintings.

Sky Europe – Zsuzsa Laky

Sky Europe - Zsuzsa LakyZsuzsa Laky was Miss Hungary and Miss Europe in 2003. Slovakian-based Sky Europe had a hub in Budapest (Hungary) as well, so they contracted her to promote Hungary as a destination. Her full body shape picture covered the side of a B737-700. Zsuzsa’s face was also used in 2003 and 2004 by the Hungarian Tourism Board on billboards all over Europe to promote Hungary.

Alaska Airlines – Salmon-Thirty-Salmon

Alaska Airlines Salmon-Thirty-SalmonAlaska Airlines is the biggest air cargo company delivering sea fishbetween Alaska and the mainland US and Alaska and Europe. To emphasize their role in sea food transportation, they painted a giant salmon on one of their aircrafts. The name of the aircraft is a word game. Instead of Seven-Thirty-Seven they called it Salmon-Thirty-Salmon. Nice idea. 🙂

Alaska Airlines – Make a wish

Alaska Airlines Make a wishThe giant salmon was not the only special livery at Alaska Airlines. Together with the “Make-a-wish” foundation they decorated an aircraft with Genie from the Disney movie Aladdin. Alaska Airlines supported the foundation by taking children to places they wished to travel. On the first flight of the plane featuring Genie six children travelled from Seattle to Disneyland in California.

All Nippon Airways – Fly! Panda

Fly Panda 1To celebrate 35 years of freindly relationship between China and Japan and the 20th anniversary of the Tokyo – Beijing flight, All Nippon Airways chose the character of a Panda to be painted on their aircraft. It is not just the outift of the aircraft, the interior and the uniform of the staff is also themed of the kind, black-and-white bear.

JAL – Dream Express

JAL - Dream StoryIt was not just Alaska Airlines cooperating with Disney. JAL also painted 5 + 1 of its aircrafts “Disneyish”. The family members were the following: “Friends” with white background, “Sweet” with pink background, “Family” with blue background, 2 planes named “Tokyo Disney Sea” with blueish water-like background and the extra 6th plane with the nose of Mickey Mouse called “Dream story” and its livery is based on the story of an elementary school girl.

Lufthansa – Football World Championship

Lufthansa WCFor Germany 2006 was a historical year. After its reunion the Football (soccer) World Championship was the biggest sport event, when they could finally show thw world they are a nation, they are good hosts and their team is again good at football. They started preparations a year before the event. One of the first visual promotion of the championship was that Lufthansa painted the nose of its Airbus aircrafts looking like a soccer ball.

Air Asia – Manchester United

Air Asia Manchester United LiveryAir Asia is a low cost airline in the Far-East, where Manchester United football (soccer) club is very popular. The marketing managers of Air Asia found it a good opportunity to aim at this target group by painting one of their aircrafts Manchester United-like. The aircraft was called the Red Devil Airbus and it featured the key players and the trainer of the famous British soccer club. The players painted on the plane were: Sir Alex Ferguson, Park Ji Sing, Wayne Rooney, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Cristiano Ronaldo, Alan Smith, Rio Ferdinand.

Christmas

Santa hit by a planeChristmas – as all holidays – is one of the highest seasons in air travel. Airlines naturally prepare a lot for the holiday season. We can see Santa Claus livery on planes many times, especially on Finnair flights as Finnland is the official home of Santa. This is my favorite Santa painting, although I never managed to find out the airline itself.

And here is a collection of paintings not mentioned in the article.

Fly Panda 2

ANA - Snoopy

Concorde Pepsi

Itali Airlines Clouds

Dream Express Family

Sky Airlines Adam and Eve

By Szafi

Boeing 747 Keeps Up With Airbus 380

Now that the first A380 took off, real competition started in the huge plane segment of the market. While Airbus developed the supersize A380, Boeing was working in parallel on Dreamliner and some facelift on the good old Jumbo jet, the Boeing 747. The Boeing company has completed firm configuration of the new Jumbo – B747-8 Intercontinental. This milestone marks the completion of the major trade studies needed to finalize the airplane’s performance and interior features.

The 747-8 program, which includes the 747-8 Intercontinental and the 747-8 Freighter, was launched in November 2005 by Cargolux Airlines and Nippon Cargo Airlines. Lufthansa was the first airline to order the 747-8 Intercontinental in December 2006 and it is expected to be delivered in 2010.

Cargolux B747-8 ILufthansa B747-8 I

“We have designed the 747-8 Intercontinental to be the ideal airplane for serving the 400- to 500-seat market between the 777 and the A380,” said Michael Teal, deputy chief project engineer for the 747 program. “The airplane will provide airlines significantly lower operating costs, as well as improved economics and environmental performance compared to the 747-400. It also will feature a new interior that will increase passenger appeal and create a strong and very favorable first impression.”

Many of the trade studies for the 747-8 Intercontinental focused on the airplane’s interior. The airplane will incorporate interior features from the 787 Dreamliner, including a new curved, upswept architecture that will give passengers a greater feeling of space and comfort, while adding more room for personal belongings. The enhanced interior architecture is accentuated by new lighting technology that creates a perception of airy brightness and provides smooth lighting transitions to offer a more restful environment.

The 747-8 also will integrate features from the 777, including windows that equal those on the 777 (15.3 inches/38.8 centimeters tall and 10.76 inches/27.3 centimeters wide), and are larger than those on the 747-400.

B747-8 I interiorB747-8 I interiorB747-8 I interior

“The 747 family’s unique interior and structural design have provided passengers with memorable flying experiences for decades,” said Doug Ackerman, engineering interior team leader for the 747-8. “With the newly applied 787 features, passengers will know they are on a brand new airplane the moment they step on board, and enjoy a more relaxing flying experience.”

As for the airplane’s performance, the 747-8 Intercontinental will be stretched 5.6m (18.3ft) from the 747-400 to provide 467 seats in a three-class configuration and approximately 14,815-km (8,000-nmi) in range. It will provide nearly equivalent trip costs to those on the 747-400 and 10 percent lower seat-mile costs, plus 28 percent greater cargo volume. The 747-8 Intercontinental also will be 16 percent more fuel efficient and 30 percent quieter than its predecessor.

With firm configuration complete, Boeing and its suppliers can begin detailed design of parts, assemblies and other systems for the 747-8 Intercontinental. The detailed designs will then be released to Boeing suppliers and factories to begin production of the airplane.

B747-8 I interior - BBJ B747-8 I interior - BBJ

The new Jumbo is also available as a Business Jet. Above you can see some interior pictures.

By Szafi

Blog calendar

February 2017
M T W T F S S
« Apr    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728  

Archives