Lufthansa Plans Big North American Expansion; A380 Will Fly To Dulles
Strong demand in the north transatlantic market is leading Lufthansa Group to add new routes and additional frequencies to the U.S. and Canada for summer in 2024.
The major network expansion will see Lufthansa’s seats in the U.S. market grow by 16% in 2024, Group CEO Carsten Spohr said at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Aerospace Summit in Washington on Sept. 12.
New U.S. gateways to be introduced are Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, and Minneapolis-St. Paul. Lufthansa plans to operate year-round 5X-weekly Airbus A330 service between Frankfurt and Raleigh and year-round 5X weekly Boeing 787 service between Frankfurt and Minneapolis. Both services will start in early June 2024.
Lufthansa will also start direct flights from Munich to Seattle, adding to its current Frankfurt-Seattle service. The new nonstop will operate daily through the summer season using the A350-900. Lufthansa will also more than double A350-900 flights between Munich and San Diego, taking that to a daily summer service. Frequencies from Frankfurt to Austin and Dallas in Texas, Orlando, Florida, and Calgary, Alberta, will also increase.
Swiss, meanwhile, will begin service from Zurich to Washington Dulles on March 28, 2024, while Lufthansa plans to put A380 service into Dulles for the first time with summer flights from Munich. Swiss will also launch seasonal 5X-weekly service from Zurich to Toronto on May 10, using an A330-300.
Spohr said the north transatlantic market was “a fantastic backbone of global aviation” and demand was “as healthy as possible” even though it was a “very, very challenging time” on the operations side to meet that demand with all the ongoing supply chain and engine issues.
He said that high demand was behind the decision to return to service all eight of the A380s that Lufthansa owns. Lufthansa already offers A380 service to New York John F. Kennedy International Airport and Boston Logan. This fall it will put the aircraft on Los Angeles LAX routes before going into Dulles in 2024. Three A380s are back in service, two more will return in 2024 and the rest from 2025. The aircraft will see reconfigurations to upgrade their business-class cabins, while first-class cabins will be expanded.
Spohr said Lufthansa’s “bet on premium coming back” post-pandemic was the right call, with no slowing down in demand for business, first and premium-economy cabins. He said he believes this will be a permanent trend in aviation that follows on from similar growing demand for luxury products in other industries, such as automobiles, watches and purses. It does not hurt his airlines, he added, that many of the luxury brands in those products are German or Swiss.