Lufthansa Brings Back Munich-Johannesburg After Almost Two Decades

Lufthansa airbus a350
Credit: Lufthansa

Lufthansa is opening a second route to Johannesburg during the summer 2024 season, returning to the city with flights from Munich for the first time in almost 20 years.

The Star Alliance member, which already serves Johannesburg from its Frankfurt hub, will commence operations from Munich Airport (MUC) to O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) from June 3, 2024. An Airbus A350 aircraft will be deployed on 5,246-mi. (4,559-nm) sector three times per week.

The route marks a restoration of nonstop Lufthansa flights between Munich and Johannesburg for the first time since 2005, when it opted to axe the service in favor of launching Frankfurt-Cape Town International Airport (CPT) nonstop.

The planned expansion to JNB comes after the airline in August resumed a codeshare agreement with South African Airways (SAA) and expanded cooperation with Airlink. The pact with SAA sees the South African carrier place its code on Lufthansa’s daily Boeing 747 Frankfurt-Johannesburg service, with options for onward destinations in Europe.

Similarly, the codeshare partnership with Airlink allows passengers to fly from the South African cities of Durban, East London, George and Gqeberha on Lufthansa’s connections to Frankfurt from JNB and Cape Town on one booking. Inbound passengers may also be booked on a single Lufthansa booking from Europe through either JNB or CPT, then travel onward to domestic points on Airlink’s network.

Although MUC-JNB is unserved at present, the route was previously a mainstay of SAA’s network until the onset of the pandemic. Sabre Market Intelligence data shows that 64,350 passengers flew from JNB to MUC in 2019—only 14.5% of whom flew point-to-point between the cities. About 30% of traffic was bridge—meaning passengers did not start their journey in Johannesburg nor end it in Munich—while behind and beyond traffic was split at about 27.8% each.

The new route to Johannesburg was announced as Lufthansa unveiled plans to grow its North American network next year. From Munich, daily service to Seattle will start on May 30, while Frankfurt sees a new 5X-weekly routes to Minneapolis from June 4 and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, from June 6. Additionally, Munich-Hong Kong will return in summer 2024, and the winter service from Munich to Bengaluru, India, will continue through the summer.

Sister carrier Swiss, meanwhile, will begin service from Zurich to Washington Dulles on March 28, and launch seasonal 5X-weekly service from Zurich to Toronto on May 10.

David Casey

David Casey is Editor in Chief of Routes, the global route development community's trusted source for news and information.