Lufthansa | History and definition of the Lufthansa | Lufthansa of the logo

Deutsche Lufthansa AG is the flag carrier of Germany and the largest airline in Europe in terms of overall passengers carried. The name of the company is derived from Luft (the German word for "air"), and Hansa (after the Hanseatic League, a powerful medieval trading group).

The airline is the world's fourth-largest airline in terms of overall passengers carried, operating services to 18 domestic destinations and 203 international destinations in 78 countries across Africa, Americas, Asia and Europe. Together with its partners Lufthansa services around 410 destinations. With over 710 aircraft it has the second-largest passenger airline fleet in the world when combined with its subsidiaries.

Lufthansa's registered office and corporate headquarters is in Deutz, Cologne, with its main operations base (Lufthansa Aviation Center (LAC) and primary traffic hub at Frankfurt Airport in Frankfurt am Main with a second hub at Munich Airport. The majority of Lufthansa's pilots, ground staff, and flight attendants are based in Frankfurt.

Lufthansa is a founding member of Star Alliance, the world's largest airline alliance, formed in 1997. The Lufthansa Group and employs 117,000 people worldwide of 146 nationalities. In 2010, over 90 million passengers flew with Lufthansa (not including Germanwings and Brussels Airlines).

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

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.

Several Lufthansa departments are not located in the headquarters; instead they are located in the Lufthansa Aviation Center at Frankfurt International Airport in Flughafen, Frankfurt. The departments include Corporate Communications, Investor Relations, and Media Relations.

Airline subsidiaries:
  1. Air Dolomiti, an airline headquartered in Ronchi dei Legionari, Italy, wholly owned by Lufthansa.
  2. Austrian Airlines, the national airline of Austria, based in Schwechat, Austria, wholly owned by Lufthansa.
  3. British Midland International, a UK airline, wholly owned by Lufthansa.
  4. Brussels Airlines: On 1 July 2009, Lufthansa acquired a 45 percent stake in the Belgian airline with an option to acquire the remaining shares in 2011.
  5. Edelweiss Air, the charter arm of Swiss International.
  6. Eurowings a regional carrier, 49% owned by Lufthansa.
  7. Germanwings, wholly owned by Lufthansa, Germanwings was previously the low-cost subsidiary of Eurowings.
  8. Jade Cargo International, was established in October 2004. Lufthansa Cargo owns 25% of the company, remainder is held by Shenzhen Airlines, which has a 51% stake, and DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH, a subsidiary of the German state-owned KfW bank – with 24%. It started operations in March 2005 with intra-Asian services. It is the first cargo airline in China with foreign ownership.
  9. JetBlue Airways, an airline headquartered in New York, 19% owned by Lufthansa.
  10. Lufthansa Cargo, an air cargo company, wholly owned by Lufthansa.
  11. Lufthansa CityLine, a regional carrier, wholly owned by Lufthansa.
  12. Lufthansa Italia, a subsidiary which operates flights from Milan Malpensa to destinations across Europe, with a fleet of nine Airbus A319 aircraft. It is intended to capture a large slice of the Milan market following major cutbacks by Alitalia as a result of its hub change to Rome Fiumicino Airport.
  13. Luxair – Lufthansa holds a 13% stake.
  14. SunExpress, airline based in Antalya, Turkey; 50% owned by Lufthansa (The remainder is owned by Turkish Airlines).
  15. Swiss International Air Lines, an airline based in Basel wholly owned by Lufthansa.
  16. Ukraine International Airlines, a Ukrainian airline, 22,52 % owned by UIA Beteiligungsgesellschaft mbH, a 100 % subsidiary of Austrian Airlines.
Other operations:
  1. Delvag, an insurance company specialising in air transport
  2. Global Load Control, a world leader in remote weight and balance services
  3. LSG Sky Chefs, the world's largest airline caterer, which accounts for one third of the world's airline meals
  4. Lufthansa Commercial Holding, in which Lufthansa holds a 19% stake. LCH contains over 400 service and finance companies of which Lufthansa holds shares
  5. Lufthansa Consulting, an international aviation consultant for airlines, airports and related industries
  6. Lufthansa Flight Training, a provider of flight crew training services to various airlines and the main training arm for the Airline's own pilots
  7. Lufthansa Regional, a brand operated by an alliance of several small regional airlines, including Lufthansa CityLine
  8. Lufthansa Systems, the largest European aviation IT provider
  9. Lufthansa Technik, aircraft maintenance providers
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 5 February 1919. In 1926 Deutsche Luft Hansa adopted this symbol, and in 1954 Lufthansa expressed continuity by adopted 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 Luftverkehr AG and Deutscher Aero Lloyd.

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).

On 14 December Lufthansa and US-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 28 August 2008, Lufthansa and Brussels Airlines announced that they were negotiating joining together.

On 15 September 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.

On 28 October 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 1 July 2009. By acquiring the remaining 20% from Scandinavian Airlines Lufthansa has full control over BMI since November 1, 2009.

In November, Lufthansa and Austrian 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. Additionally, it announced that if British Airways was unable to complete its merger with Iberia Airlines, it would attempt to begin talks with the Spanish airline itself.

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

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.

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 for 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 321-100 (D-AIRA), which was designated Finkenwerder in honor of the collaborative Airbus facility in the borough of Hamburg-Finkenwerder, where parts of the Airbus models are manufactured.

In February 2010 the Lufthansa company announced that the first two Airbus A380 in its fleet would be named Frankfurt am Main and München, following its naming tradition. However, the two subsequent A380 planes are named after Lufthansa A380 destination cities. The third A380 delivered to Lufthansa (D-AIMC) is named Peking, the German version of Beijing, inscribed on the plane in both German and Mandarin characters. The fourth A380 (D-AIMD) is named Tokio, the German spelling of Tokyo. The fifth A380 (D-AIME) is named Johannesburg, and the sixth (D-AIMF) is named Zürich.

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 labor. Lufthansa sells aviation enthusiasts rides on the restored aircraft.

First Class: Lufthansa First Class is offered on most long-haul aircraft (Airbus A330-300, A340-300, A340-600 and A380-800, Boeing 747-400). Each seat converts to a two meter bed, includes laptop power outlets, as well as entertainment facilities. 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.

Business Class: Lufthansa's long-haul Business Class is offered on all long-haul aircraft. Each seat converts to a two meter 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.

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 747s are in the process of being refitted . The Airbus A380s are being delivered with AVOD systems already installed.

Business Class: Lufthansa's short-haul Business Class offers a 31"-32" seatpitch and is available on all A319, A320, A321 and B737 aircraft. Passengers receive meals and drinks, as well as access to dedicated Business Class check-in counters, and Lufthansa Business Class lounges. These aircraft are used on selected medium-haul flights. Inflight entertainment is not offered on any short-haul flights.

Economy Class: Lufthansa's short-haul Economy Class offers a 31" pitch and is available on all A319, A320, A321 and B737 aircraft. Passengers receive free beverages, and snacks or meals. Inflight entertainment is not offered on any short-haul flights.

In July 2010, Lufthansa announced a move to a new cabin with lighter seating in its European fleet, bringing capacity improvements equivalent to buying twelve new A320s.

In December 2010, Lufthansa announced a new slimline seat developed by Recaro, which would allow higher seat densities and/or more legroom for passengers; Lufthansa has ordered 32000 of these seats, to be installed in 2011.

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 Panamera or Mercedes-Benz Viano.

Lufthansa's frequent-flyer program 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: Basic (no minimal threshold), Frequent Traveller (Silver, 35,000 mile threshold), Senator (Gold, 100,000 mile threshold, 130,000 for German residents), and HON Circle (Black, 600,000 mile threshold over two calendar years). All non-basic Miles & More status levels offer lounge access and executive bonus miles, with the higher levels offering more exclusive benefits.