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Lufthansa Group

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Lufthansa Group

This article is about the airline in operation today. For other airlines of that name, see Lufthansa (disambiguation).

Deutsche Lufthansa AG
Founded 1953[note 1]
Commenced operations 1955
Focus cities
Frequent-flyer program Miles & More
Airport lounge
  • First Class Lounge
  • Senator Lounge
  • Business Lounge
Alliance Star Alliance
Fleet size 286
Destinations 215
Company slogan Nonstop you
Headquarters Cologne, Germany
Key people Christoph Franz (Chairman & CEO)
Revenue Increase 30.14 billion (2012)[5]
Operating income Decrease €524 million (2012)[5]
Net income Increase €990 million (2012)[5]
Total assets Increase €28.42 billion (2012)[5]
Total equity Increase €8.298 billion (2012)[5]
Employees 116,957 (2012)[5]

Deutsche Lufthansa AG (, ) (German pronunciation: [ˈdɔʏt͡ʃə ˈlʊfthanza], commonly simply known as Lufthansa and sometimes internationally as Lufthansa German Airlines) is the largest airline in Europe, both in terms of overall passengers carried and fleet size,[6] and flag carrier of Germany.[note 3] Having been a state-owned enterprise until 1994,[7] the majority of Lufthansa's shares are nowadays held by private investors (88.52%), as well as MGL Gesellschaft für Luftverkehrswerte (10.05%), Deutsche Postbank (1.03%), and Deutsche Bank (0.4%). The name of the company is derived from Luft (the German word for "air"), and Hansa (a Latin term referring to the Hanseatic League).

The airline operates services to 18 domestic destinations and 197 international destinations in 78 countries across Africa, Americas, Asia and Europe,[9] using a fleet of more than 280 aircraft.

Together with its partners, Lufthansa serves around 500 destinations.[10] With over 620 aircraft, it has one of the largest passenger airline fleets in the world when combined with its subsidiaries.[11]

Lufthansa's registered office and corporate headquarters are in Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The main operations base, called Lufthansa Aviation Center (LAC), is located at Lufthansa's primary traffic hub at Frankfurt Airport.[12][13][14] The majority of Lufthansa's pilots, ground staff, and flight attendants are based in Frankfurt.[15]

Lufthansa is a founding member of Star Alliance, the world's largest airline alliance, formed in 1997. In 2012, Lufthansa Group carried over 103 million passengers.[5]


1950s: Post-war (re-)formation

Lufthansa traces its history back to 1926 when Deutsche Luft Hansa A.G. (from 1933 styled as Deutsche Lufthansa) was formed in Berlin,[3] an airline that served as flag carrier of the country until 1945 when all services were suspended following the defeat of Germany in World War II. In an effort to create a new German national airline, a company called Aktiengesellschaft für Luftverkehrsbedarf (Luftag),[1] was founded in Cologne on 6 January 1953, with a large number of its staff once having worked for the pre-war Lufthansa. At that time, West Germany had not been granted with the sovereignty over its airspace yet, so that it was unknown when the new airline could become operational. Nevertheless, in 1953 Luftag placed orders for four Convair CV-340 and four Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation airliners and set up a maintenance base at Hamburg Airport.[1][2] On 6 August 1954, Luftag acquired the name and logo from the liquidated Deutsche Lufthansa for DM 30,000,[2] thus continuing the tradition of a German flag carrier of that name.

On 1 April 1955 Lufthansa was granted approval to launch scheduled domestic services,[2] interlinking Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Cologne and Munich.[16] International operations started on 15 May 1955, with flights to London, Paris, and Madrid,[16][17] followed by services to New York City from 1 June of that year using Super Constellation aircraft,[16] and on South Atlantic routes from August 1956.

Due to the special status of that city, Lufthansa was not allowed to operate flights to either part of Berlin until 1989. Originally thought to be only a temporary matter (and with firm intentions to move the airline's headquarteres and main base there once the political situation would change),[1] the Division of Germany turned out to be long-lasting, which gradually led to Frankfurt Airport being evolved into the major hub for Lufthansa instead.

East Germany attempted to establish its own airline in 1955 using the Lufthansa name, but this resulted in a legal dispute with West Germany, where the airline was already in operation. As a consequence, East Germany instead established Interflug as its national airline in 1963, which coincided with the East German Lufthansa being shut down.[18]

1960s: Jetliner introduction

In 1958 Lufthansa ordered four Boeing 707s and started jet flights from Frankfurt to New York City in March 1960. Boeing 720Bs were later bought to back up the 707 fleet. In February 1961 Far East routes were extended beyond Bangkok, Thailand, to Hong Kong and Tokyo. Lagos, Nigeria and Johannesburg, South Africa were added in 1962.

Lufthansa introduced the Boeing 727 in 1964 and that May began the Polar route from Frankfurt to Tokyo. In February 1965 the company ordered twenty-one Boeing 737 medium-haul jets which went into service in 1968.

Lufthansa was the first customer for the Boeing 737 and was one of only four buyers of the 737-100s (the others were NASA, Malaysia-Singapore Airlines and Avianca – while the NASA airframe was the first constructed, it was the last delivered and originally intended for delivery to Lufthansa). Lufthansa was the first foreign launch customer for a Boeing airliner.

1970s–1980s: The wide-body era

The wide-body era for Lufthansa started with a Boeing 747 flight on April 26, 1970. It was followed by the introduction of the DC-10-30 on November 12, 1973, and the first Airbus A300 in 1976. In 1979 Lufthansa and Swissair were launch customers for the Airbus A310 with an order for twenty-five aircraft.

The company's fleet modernisation programme for the 1990s began on June 29, 1985 with an order for fifteen Airbus A320s and seven Airbus A300-600s. Ten Boeing 737-300s were ordered a few days later. All were delivered between 1987 and 1992. Lufthansa also bought Airbus A321, Airbus A340 and the Boeing 747-400.

In 1987 Lufthansa, together with Air France, Iberia and SAS founded Amadeus, an IT company (also known as a GDS) that would enable travel agencies to sell the founders and other airlines' products from a single system.

Lufthansa adopted a new corporate identity in 1988. The fleet was given a new livery while cabins, city offices and airport lounges were redesigned.

1990s–2000s: Further expansion

On October 28, 1990, 25 days after reunification, Berlin became a Lufthansa destination again. On May 18, 1997, Lufthansa, Air Canada, Scandinavian Airlines, Thai Airways and United Airlines formed the Star Alliance, the world's first multilateral airline alliance.

In 2000, Air One became a partner airline of Lufthansa and nearly all Air One flights were code-shared with Lufthansa until the purchase of Air One by Alitalia. Lufthansa has a good track record for posting profits, even in 2001, after 9/11, the airline suffered a significant loss in profits but still managed to stay 'in the black'. While many other airlines announced layoffs (typically 20% of their workforce), Lufthansa retained its current workforce.[21]

On December 6, 2001, Lufthansa announced an order for 15 Airbus A380 superjumbos with 10 more options, which was confirmed on December 20. The A380 fleet will be used for long-haul flights from Frankfurt exclusively.

In June 2003, Lufthansa opened Terminal 2 at Munich's Franz Josef Strauß Airport to relieve its main hub, Frankfurt, which was suffering from capacity constraints. It is one of the first terminals in Europe partially owned by an airline.

Autumn 2003, implementation of a new sales strategy initiated by then-incumbent Executive Vice President Thierry Antinori to make the company fit for the digital era: abolition of commission payments for travel agencies led to a revolution in the German travel business with many travel agencies disappearing from the market on the one hand, and the rise of new digital distribution platforms on the other hand.[22]

On May 17, 2004, Lufthansa became the launch customer for the Connexion by Boeing in-flight online connectivity service.

On March 22, 2005, SWISS was purchased by Lufthansa Airlines. The acquisition included the provision that the majority shareholders (the Swiss government and large Swiss companies) be offered payment if Lufthansa's share price outperforms an airline index during the years following the merger. The two companies will continue to be run separately.

On December 6, 2006, Lufthansa placed an order for 20 Boeing 747-8I airliners, becoming the launch customer of the type. The airline is also the second European airline to operate the Airbus A380 (after Air France). Their first A380 was delivered on May 19, 2010.[23]

On September 15, 2008, Lufthansa Group announced its purchase of a stake in Brussels Airlines. In June 2009 the EU Commission granted regulatory approval for this strategic partnership between Brussels Airlines and Lufthansa. The decision paved the way for Lufthansa to acquire an initial 45% stake in SN Airholding SA/NV, the parent company of Brussels Airlines.[24] Lufthansa has an option to purchase the remaining 55% of Brussels Airlines until 2014.

In September 2009, Lufthansa purchases Austrian Airlines with the approval of the European Commission.[25]

On June 11, 2010, the Airbus A380 service was operated between Frankfurt and Tokyo.[26]

2010s: Belt-tightening

After Q1 2012 loss of 381 million euro and 13 million euro loss in year 2011 due to economies slowed and the cost of restructuring and fuel weighed on earnings, Deutsche Lufthansa AG cut 3,500 administrative positions or around 20 percent of the clerical total of 16,800.[27] In 2012 Lufthansa announced restructuring program called SCORE aim to improve its operating profit. Part of the plan the company started to transfer short-haul flights outside its main hubs to company’s re-branded low-cost carrier Germanwings. [28]

In September 2013 Lufthansa Group announced its biggest order, for 59 wide-body aircraft valued more than 14 billion euros at list prices. Earlier in the same year Lufthansa placed an order for 100 next-generation narrow-body aircraft. [29]

Corporate affairs and identity


Lufthansa's corporate headquarters are located in Cologne, Germany.[30]

In 1971, Lawrence Fellows of The New York Times described the then-new headquarters building that Lufthansa occupied in Cologne as "gleaming".[31] In 1986, terrorists bombed the headquarters of Lufthansa.[32] No people received injuries as a result of the bombing.[33]

In 2006, the builders laid the first stone to the new Lufthansa headquarters in Deutz, Cologne. By the end of 2007 Lufthansa planned to move 800 employees, including the company's finance department, to the new building.[34] Several Lufthansa departments are not located in the headquarters; instead they are located in the Lufthansa Aviation Center at Frankfurt Airport. The departments include Corporate Communications,[35] Investor Relations,[36] and Media Relations.[37]

In early 2013 Lufthansa revealed plans to relocate its head office from Cologne to Frankfurt by 2017. [38]


In addition to its main operation, Lufthansa has several subsidiaries, including:[5]

Airline subsidiaries

Wholly owned by Lufthansa

Partly owned by Lufthansa

  • AeroLogic, German cargo airline owned 50% by Lufthansa in joint venture with DHL.
  • Brussels Airlines: 45% owned by Lufthansa with an option to acquire the remaining shares in the future.
  • JetBlue Airways, 15.85% owned by Lufthansa.
  • Luxair, 14.44% owned by Lufthansa.
  • SunExpress, airline based in Antalya, Turkey; 50% owned by Lufthansa and the remaining owned by Turkish Airlines.
Other operations
  • Delvag, an insurance company specialising in air transport.
  • Global Load Control, a world leader in remote weight and balance services.
  • LSG Sky Chefs, the world's largest airline caterer, which accounts for one third of the world's airline meals.
  • Lufthansa Commercial Holding, 19% owned by Lufthansa. LCH contains over 400 service and finance companies of which Lufthansa holds shares.
  • Lufthansa Consulting, an international aviation consultant for airlines, airports and related industries.
  • Lufthansa Flight Training, a provider of flight crew training services to various airlines and the main training arm for the airline's own pilots.
  • Lufthansa Regional, a brand operated by an alliance of several small regional airlines, including Lufthansa CityLine.
  • Lufthansa Systems, the largest European aviation IT provider.
  • Lufthansa Technik, aircraft maintenance providers.

Brand history

The Lufthansa logo, an encircled stylized crane in flight, was created in 1918 by Otto Firle. It was part of the livery of the first German airline, Deutsche Luft-Reederei (abbreviated DLR), which began air service on February 5, 1919. In 1926, Deutsche Luft Hansa adopted this symbol, and in 1954, Lufthansa expressed continuity by adopting it, too.

The original creator of the name Lufthansa is believed to be F.A. Fischer von Puturzyn. In 1925, he published a book entitled "Luft-Hansa" which examined the options open to aviation policymakers at the time. Luft Hansa was the name given to the new airline which resulted from the merger of Junkers' airline (Luftverkehr AG) and Deutscher Aero Lloyd.[39]

Alliances and partnerships


Lufthansa is owned by private investors (88.52%), MGL Gesellschaft für Luftverkehrswerte (10.05%), Deutsche Postbank (1.03%) and Deutsche Bank (0.4%) and has 37,042 employees (at March 2007).[40]

On December 13, 2007, Lufthansa and U.S.-based low-cost airline Jetblue announced the beginning of a partnership initiated through the 19% stake purchase in Jetblue shares by Lufthansa. This is the first major ownership investment by a European carrier in an American carrier since the EU–U.S. Open Skies Agreement became effective in 2008.

In late 2007, the Lufthansa cargo hub dispute was started by Russia. Lufthansa was forced to relocate its cargo hub from Kazakhstan to Russia.

On August 28, 2008, Lufthansa and Brussels Airlines announced that they were negotiating joining together.[41]

On September 15, 2008, it was jointly announced by both airlines that Lufthansa will acquire a 45% stake in Brussels Airlines with an option to acquire the remaining 55% from 2011. As a part of this deal Brussels Airlines will join Star Alliance. Brussels entered into the Star Alliance in December 2009.[42][43][44]

On October 28, 2008, Lufthansa exercised its option to purchase a further 60% share in BMI (additionally to the 20% Lufthansa already owned), this resulted in a dispute with former owner Sir Michael Bishop, though. Both parties reached an agreement at the end of June 2009, so the acquisition could take place with effect from July 1, 2009.[45] By acquiring the remaining 20% from Scandinavian Airlines Lufthansa has full control over BMI since November 1, 2009.[46]

In November 2008, Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines announced a deal in which Lufthansa will buy the majority stock from the Austrian government. The deal was completed in January 2009. At the same time, Lufthansa announced that they are in serious talks with Scandinavian Airlines System about a merger between the two airlines but Lufthansa would have to make great changes to SAS before this is viable because of the financial state of Scandinavian Airlines System over the last few years. In May 2009, it announced that talks are occurring between about a "closer commercial co-operation" between the two companies, but that a takeover is not in Lufthansa's plans.[47] Additionally, it announced that if British Airways was unable to complete its merger with Iberia, it would attempt to begin talks with the Spanish airline itself.[48]

In 2010, Lufthansa was named in a European Commission investigation into price-fixing, but was not fined due to acting as a whistleblower.[49]

In November 2011, Lufthansa agreed to sell its subsidiary, BMI Airlines to the IAG group (Owner of British Airways and Iberia), pending approvals, for 172.5 million pounds

In July 2012, a Qantas–Lufthansa Technik maintenance deal for Tullamarine airport fell through due to having insufficient engine maintenance work to support the partnership. This resulted in 164 engineers becoming redundant. This follows just months after the closing of heavy maintenance operations, which resulted in 400 additional job losses. It was announced that the Lufthansa Technik–Qantas partnership would end in September.[50]


Until April 2009 Lufthansa inventory and departure control systems, based on Unisys were managed by LH Systems. Lufthansa reservations systems were outsourced to Amadeus in the early 1990s. Following a decision to outsource all components of the Passenger Service System, the functions were outsourced to the Altéa platform managed by Amadeus.

Partner airlines

Lufthansa built up a worldwide partner network, offering coordinated connections, common frequent-flyer programmes and code sharing. After the liquidation of Team Lufthansa, some of the former Team Lufthansa members were integrated into the partner programme. All airlines remain independent and keep their own corporate identity. Lufthansa partners around the world are:


Lufthansa sponsors Bundesliga club Bayern Munich.[51]


Further information: Lufthansa destinations

Codeshare agreements

Besides fellow Star Alliance members, Lufthansa has codeshare agreements with the following airlines (as of September 2013):[52]


Gradually, the Airbus A320 family has become the primary short haul aircraft with Lufthansa, replacing the Boeing 737 Classic. The images show an Airbus A320-200...
... the shortened A319-100 variant...
... and the longer Airbus A321-200. This particular airplane is painted in special Retrojet colors, inspired by Lufthansa's first post-war livery.

As of October 2013, the Lufthansa fleet consists of the following aircraft with an average age of 12.3 years:[53][54][55][56][57]

Lufthansa Mainline Fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Options Passengers Notes
F C Y Total
Airbus A319-100 32 1 0 0 138 138
Airbus A320-200 61 42 168 168
Airbus A320neo 60 TBA
Airbus A321-100 20 0 0 200 200
Airbus A321-200 42 2 5
Airbus A321neo 40 TBA
Airbus A330-300 18 1 2
8 48 161 217
165 221
Airbus A340-300 23 8 48 165 221
36 197 241
0 44 222 266
Airbus A340-600 24 8 60 238 306
Airbus A350-900 25[58] 30[58] TBA Deliveries from 2016[59]
Airbus A380-800 10 4 8 98 420 526
Boeing 737-300 13 0 0 140 140 Phasing out by 2016[60]
Boeing 737-500 9 120 120 Phasing out by 2016[60]
Boeing 747-400 21
8 80 242 330
66 278 352
Boeing 747-8I 9 10
8 92 262 362 New Deliveries: 5 in 2014, 5 in 2015[61]
80 298 386
Boeing 777-9X 34[59] 30[62] TBA Deliveries from 2020[59]
Total 282 219 67

Fleet history

Over the years, Lufthansa has operated the following aircraft types:[63]

Lufthansa Mainline Historical Fleet since 1955
Aircraft Introduced Retired Notes
Airbus A300B2/B4 1976 1984
Airbus A300-600 1987 2009
Airbus A310 1984 2005
Airbus A319 1996
Airbus A320 1989
Airbus A321 1994
Airbus A330-200 2002 2006
Airbus A330-300 2004
Airbus A340-200 1993 2006
Airbus A340-300 1993
Airbus A340-600 2003
Airbus A380 2010
Boeing 707 1960 1984 Also used in cargo configuration
Boeing 720 1961 1965
Boeing 727-100 1964 1979 Also used in Quick Change version
Boeing 727-200 1971 1993
Boeing 737-100 1967 1982 Launch customer, dubbed City Jet
Boeing 737-200 1969 1997 Also used in Quick Change version
Boeing 737-300 1986 Also used in Quick Change version
Boeing 737-400 1992 1998
Boeing 737-500 1990
Boeing 747-100 1970 1979
Boeing 747-200 1971 2004 Also used in cargo configuration
Boeing 747-400 1989
Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental 2012 Launch customer
Boeing 767-300 1994
Leased from Condor[64]
Convair CV-340/440 1955 1968
Curtiss C-46 1964 1969 Leased cargo aircraft
Douglas DC-3 1955 1960 Also used in cargo configuration
Douglas DC-4 1958 1959 One single leased cargo aircraft
Douglas DC-8 1965 1966 One single leased cargo aircraft
McDonnell Douglas DC-10 1974 1994
Fokker F27 Friendship ~1965 ~1966 Leased from Condor
Lockheed Super Constellation/Starliner 1955 1967 Also used in cargo configuration
Vickers Viking 1956 1961 Two leased cargo aircraft
Vickers Viscount 1958 1971

Aircraft Naming Conventions

In September 1960, the Lufthansa Boeing 707 (D-ABOC), which would serve the Frankfurt-New York intercontinental route, was christened Berlin after the divided city of Berlin by then-mayor Willy Brandt. Following the Berlin, other Lufthansa 707 planes were named "Hamburg", "Frankfurt", "München" and "Bonn." With these names, the company established a tradition of naming the planes in its fleet after German cities and towns or federal states, with a general rule of thumb that the airplane make, size, or route would correspond roughly to the relative size or importance of the city or town it was named after.

This tradition has continued to this day, with two notable exceptions until 2010. The Airbus A340-300 (D-AIFC Gander/Halifax) was named after Gander and Halifax, two Canadian cities along the standard flight path from Europe to North America. It became the first Lufthansa airplane named after a non-German city. The name is meant to commemorate the hospitality of the communities of Gander and Halifax, which served as improvised safe havens for the passengers and crew of the multitude of international aircraft unable to return to their originating airports after the closing of the North American airspace in the days following the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.

The other aircraft not named after a German city was the Airbus A321-100 (D-AIRA), which was designated Finkenwerder in honour of the collaborative Airbus facility in the borough of Hamburg-Finkenwerder, where about 40% of Airbus narrowbody models are manufactured.

In February 2010, Lufthansa announced that the first two Airbus A380 in its fleet would be named Frankfurt am Main and München, following its naming tradition. However, the subsequent A380 aircraft are named after Star Alliance hub cities like Tokyo, Beijing and Brussels.

Vintage aircraft restoration

Lufthansa Technik, the airline's maintenance arm, restored a Junkers Ju 52/3m built in 1936 to airworthiness; this aircraft was in use on the 10-hour Berlin to Rome route, across the Alps, in the 1930s. Lufthansa is now restoring a Lockheed Super Constellation, using parts from three such aircraft bought at auction. Lufthansa's Super Constellations and L1649 "Starliners" served routes such as Hamburg-Madrid-Dakar-Caracas-Santiago. Lufthansa Technik recruits retired employees and volunteers for skilled labour.[65][66]


First Class

Lufthansa First Class is offered on most long-haul aircraft (Airbus A330-300, A340-300, A340-600, A380-800, and Boeing 747–8). Each seat converts to a two-metre bed, includes laptop power outlets, as well as entertainment facilities. However on the 747-400 they offer a bed and lie flat seat all as part of one ticket. Meals are available on demand. Lufthansa offers dedicated First Class check-in counters at most airports, and offers dedicated First Class lounges in Frankfurt and Munich, as well as a dedicated First Class Terminal in Frankfurt. Arriving passengers have the option of using Lufthansa's First Class arrival facilities, as well as the new Welcome Lounge. Lufthansa has introduced a new First Class product aboard the Airbus A380 and plans to gradually introduce it on all of its long-haul aircraft.[67] With the new programme SCORE, introduced to boost profits by 1.5 billion over the following years, LH will stop route expansion and extensively decrease its First Class offerings on most routes.[68][69]

Business Class

Lufthansa's long-haul Business Class is offered on all long-haul aircraft. Each seat converts to a two-metre angled lie-flat bed, includes laptop power outlets and entertainment facilities. Lufthansa offers dedicated Business Class check-in counters at all airports, as well as dedicated Business Class lounges at most airports, or contract lounges at other airports, as well as the Lufthansa Welcome Lounge upon arrival in Frankfurt. A new Business Class was introduced in 2012 in the Boeing 747-8.[70] It has fully flat seats, instead of the former angled lie-flat seats, and a larger seat-back entertainment screen.[70] The seats will be introduced across Lufthansa's wide-body fleet.

Economy Class

Lufthansa's long-haul Economy Class is offered on all long-haul aircraft. All have a 31" seat pitch except the Airbus A340s, which have a 32" seat pitch. Passengers receive meals, as well as free drinks. In 2007, Lufthansa began installing personal Audio-Video-On-Demand (AVOD) screens in Economy Class. The Airbus A340s and A330s have been completely refitted with AVOD, while the 747-400s are in the process of being refitted. The Airbus A380s and Boeing 747-8s are being delivered with AVOD systems already installed.


Lounge Access – Class Access – Status Notes Number on Network
First Class Terminal First Class HON Circle FRA only 1
First Class Lounge First Class HON Circle FRA, MUC and JFK only 3
Senator Lounge First Class Senator (or higher)
Star Alliance Gold

also First Class Passangers

on Star Alliance Flights

Business Lounge Business Class (or higher) Frequent Traveller (or higher) 26
Welcome Lounge Business Class (or higher) Frequent Traveller (or higher) FRA only
Intercontinental passengers on LH, LX, OS and UA only
No Star Alliance Gold

Lufthansa operates four types of lounges: First Class, Senator, Business, and Welcome Lounges.[71] Each departure lounge is accessible both through travel class, or Miles and More/Star Alliance status; the Welcome Lounge is limited to arriving premium Lufthansa passengers only.

First Class Terminal

Lufthansa operates a First Class Terminal at Frankfurt Airport. The first terminal of its kind; access is limited only to departing Lufthansa First Class, and HON Circle members. Approximately 200 staff care for approximately 300 passengers per day in the terminal, which features a full-service restaurant, full bar, cigar lounge, relaxation rooms and offices, as well as bath facilities. Guests are driven directly to their departing flight by Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Porsche Cayenne, Porsche Panamera or Mercedes-Benz Viano.

Miles & More

Main article: Miles & More

Lufthansa's frequent-flyer programme is called Miles & More, and is shared among several European airlines, including Austrian Airlines, Adria Airways, Croatia Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, Luxair, Swiss International Air Lines, and Brussels Airlines. Miles & More members may earn miles on Lufthansa flights and Star Alliance partner flights, as well as through Lufthansa credit cards, and purchases made through the Lufthansa shops. Status within Miles & More is determined by miles flown during one calendar year with specific partners. Membership levels include: Miles & More member (no minimal threshold), Frequent Traveller (Silver, 35,000-mile (56,000 km) threshold or 30 individual flights), Senator (Gold, 100,000-mile (160,000 km) threshold), and HON Circle (Black, 600,000-mile (970,000 km) threshold over two calendar years). All Miles & More status levels higher than Miles & More member offer lounge access and executive bonus miles, with the higher levels offering more exclusive benefits.[72]

Accidents and incidents

This is a list of accidents and incidents involving Lufthansa mainline aircraft since 1954. For earlier occurrences, refer to Deutsche Luft Hansa. For accidents and incidents on Lufthansa-branded flights which were operated by other airlines, see the respective articles (Lufthansa CityLine, Lufthansa Cargo, Contact Air and Air Dolomiti).


  • On January 11, 1959, Lufthansa Flight 502, a Lufthansa Lockheed Super Constellation (registered D-ALAK) crashed onto a beach shortly off Galeão Airport in Rio de Janeiro following a scheduled passenger flight from Hamburg, Germany. Of the 29 passengers and 10 crew members on board, only three flight attendants survived. Investigation into the accident resulted in blaming the pilots for having executed a too low approach, which may have been caused by fatigue.[73]
  • On December 4, 1961, a Lufthansa Boeing 720 (registered D-ABOK) crashed of unknown causes near Mainz during a training flight from Frankfurt to Cologne, killing the three occupants. It was the first crash involving an aircraft of that type.[74]
  • On July 15, 1964, another Boeing 720 (registered D-ABOP) crashed during a training flight, with the three people on board losing their lives (in what was only the second crash for this aircraft type). The accident occurred near Ansbach after the pilots had lost control of the aircraft when executing an aileron roll.
  • On January 28, 1966 at 17:50 local time, Lufthansa Flight 5 from Frankfurt to Bremen, which was operated using a Convair CV-440 Metropolitan registered D-ACAT, crashed 0.5 kilometres short of Bremen Airport, killing all 42 passengers and 4 crew members on board. The pilots had tried to execute a go-around when approaching the airport, during which the aircraft stalled and went out of control, possibly due to pilot error.[75]
  • On November 20, 1974 at 07:54 local time, Lufthansa Flight 540, a Boeing 747–100 (registered D-ABYB), crashed shortly after take-off at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in what was the first air accident involving a Boeing 747. Fifty five of the 140 passengers and 10 out of the 17 crew lost their lives, making it the worst accident in the history of the airline.[76]
  • On July 26, 1979 at 21:32 UTC, a cargo-configured Boeing 707 (registered D-ABUY) that was en route Lufthansa Flight 527 from Rio de Janeiro to Dakar and onwards to Germany (at that time cargo flights were operated in-house, the German Cargo subsidiary had not been founded yet) crashed into a mountain 25 kilometres off Galeão Airport during initial climb, killing the three crew members on board. A flawed communication between the pilots and the air traffic controller had resulted in the aircraft flying on a wrong path.[77]
  • On September 14, 1993, Lufthansa Flight 2904, an Airbus A320-200 (registered D-AIPN) flying from Frankfurt to Warsaw with 64 passengers and 4 crew members on board, overran the runway upon landing at Warsaw-Okecie Airport and crashed into an earth embankment, resulting in the death of the co-pilot and one passenger.[78][79]


  • On December 20, 1973 at 00:33 local time, a Lufthansa Boeing 707 (registered D-ABOT) with 98 passengers and 11 crew members on board collided with a middle marker shack upon approaching Palam Airport in Delhi following a scheduled passenger flight from Bangkok (as part of a multi-leg flight back to Germany). There were no injuries, but the aircraft was damaged beyond repair. At the time of the incident, there had been poor visibility conditions.[80]


  • In 1972, the year of the Munich Summer Olympics, there were four reported hijackings involving Lufthansa aircraft:
    • On February 22, Flight 649, a Boeing 747-200 (registered D-ABYD) with 172 passengers and 15 crew members on board was hijacked en route from Delhi to Athens (as part of a multi-leg flight from Tokyo to Frankfurt) by five Palestinian terrorists who thus wanted to press a $5 million ransom from the German government. The aircraft landed at Aden International Airport, and the hostages were released on the following day once the demands of the perpetrators were accepted.[81][82]
    • On July 10, a similar hijacking attempt occurred on board a Lufthansa Boeing 737-100 during a flight from Cologne to Munich.[83]
    • October 11 saw a Boeing 727 being hijacked on a flight from Lisbon to Frankfurt. Upon landing at Frankfurt Airport, the perpetrator tried to flee but was captured by police forces.[84]
    • On October 29, two men hijacked Flight 615 with 11 other passengers and 7 crew members on board during a flight from Beirut to Ankara (and onwards to Germany), in order to liberate the three surviving members of the Black September group responsible for the Munich massacre. Whilst the hijacked Boeing 727 (registered D-ABIG) was forced to circle over Zagreb Airport in danger of eventual fuel starvation, the West German authorities decided to comply with the demands. The prisoners were handed over and the aircraft was allowed to be flown to Tripoli, where the hostages were released.[85][86][87]
  • On December 17, 1973, in the wake of the events surrounding Pan Am Flight 110, a parked Lufthansa Boeing 737–100 (registered D-ABEY) was hijacked at Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport in Rome. 10 Italian hostages that had been taken by Palestinian terrorists at the airport were forced into the aircraft by 5 perpetrators, and the German crew (2 pilots and 2 flight attendants) that was on board preparing the departure to Munich had to fly the aircraft instead first to Athens and then to several other airports, until the ordeal ended at Kuwait International Airport the next day, where the hijackers surrendered.[88][89]
  • On June 28, 1977, a Lufthansa Boeing 727 was hijacked during a flight from Frankfurt to Istanbul and forced to divert to Munich.[90]
  • The Hijacking of the Landshut occurred on October 13, 1977, at a time when West Germany had come under intense terroristic pressure known as German Autumn. The Boeing 737–200 (registered D-ABCE) was hijacked en route Flight 181 from Palma de Mallorca to Frankfurt by 4 terrorists of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, who thus wanted to force the German government to release several RAF terrorists. The crew had to divert the aircraft with 87 other passengers first to Rome, and then onwards to Larnaca, Bahrain, Dubai, Aden (where the captain was killed after he had abandoned the aircraft for negotiations with the local authorities) and finally to Mogadishu in an ordeal that took several days. At Mogadishu Airport, the German GSG 9 special forces stormed the aircraft in the early hours of October 18 local time, killing 3 terrorists and freeing all hostages.[91]
  • On September 12, 1979, a hijacking attempt occurred on board a Lufthansa Boeing 727 on a flight from Frankfurt to Cologne, but the perpetrator quickly surrendered.[92]
  • Three hijackings occurred in due course in early 1985:
    • On February 27, a Boeing 727 was hijacked en route a Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt to Damascus. Two perpetrators forced the pilots to divert the aircraft (with 35 other passengers on board) to Vienna International Airport, where they surrendered.[93]
    • On March 27, another 727 was hijacked, this time on a flight from Munich to Athens. A man demanded the pilots to divert to Libya. During a fuel stop at Istanbul, the aircraft was stormed and the perpetrator arrested.[94]
    • Only two days later, a mentally ill person on board a Lufthansa Boeing 737–200 on a flight from Hamburg to London demanded to be taken to Hawaii instead.[95]
  • On February 11, 1993, Lufthansa Flight 592 from Frankfurt to Addis Ababa via Cairo with 94 passengers and 10 crew members was hijacked during the first leg by 20-year-old Nebiu Zewolde Demeke, who forced the pilots to divert the Airbus A310 (registered D-AIDM) to the United States, with the intent of securing the right of asylum there. Demeke, who had been on the flight in order to be deported back to his native Ethiopia, surrendered to authorities upon arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. No passengers or crew members were harmed during the 12-hour ordeal.[96]

See also

Germany portal
Companies portal



External links

  • Official website
  • Official website (mobile version)
  • Be-Lufthansa – Jobs and Careers

Coordinates: 50°56′15″N 006°58′11″E / 50.93750°N 6.96972°E / 50.93750; 6.96972

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