Lufthansa: Investments paying off for secure future
Lufthansa used its first long-haul Boeing 787-9 flight from Frankfurt to Newark Liberty International Airport on Dec. 1 to send a message: the German carrier has moved “beyond the coronavirus crisis mode” as the company continues to invest in more efficient, sustainable aircraft, staff, and products and services.
While the 787 flight was still in the air, Lufthansa executives marked the occasion with its first in-person “Takeoff to New Views” pop-up shop in New York since the pandemic, which showcased tasty examples from countries in its route network—India’s spices, Italy’s coffee and the sweets of Munich’s Christmas Market.
New VP-Passenger Sales for the Americas Dirk Janzen, who joined the company three months ago, told an audience the Lufthansa Group has had a “very strong third quarter” and is “expecting an EBIT of approximately €1 billion ($1.05 billion) for 2022.” The outlook is very strong, especially in America, he said, as “corporate business picks up and gets stronger week by week.”
Janzen said the Lufthansa Group has committed to spend “2 billion [euros] a year” on more than 200 new, efficient aircraft, which it plans to put into service by 2030. He said the 787 is one of 32 of the type that will join its fleet, which also includes the Airbus A320neo, the A350 and the Boeing 777.
According to Lufthansa, these new aircraft types reduce fuel consumption and, thus, CO2 emissions by up to 30% compared to their predecessors on every flight. “This has tremendous advantages for us,” Janzen said, “especially for less fuel consumption and more environmentally friendly aircraft [compared to] the fleet we have right now. This is a big investment, but it also secures our future.”
Looking to 2023, Janzen said the company’s focus is on operational stability, which includes hiring approximately 20,000 more staff—in the cockpit and for crew and ground operations. “There’s a lot of focus on getting these colleagues on board to train and educate them. From an internal view, it is exciting because we’re not talking about reductions and cost cuts.”
Janzen said the company is also investing €2.5 billion in new products and services by 2025. By fall 2023, he said 31,000 seats will be replaced with its new Allegris Premium Suite Concept, which was unveiled in October. Allegris, developed by PriestmanGoode exclusively for Lufthansa, will launch on long-haul routes in all travel classes—first, business, premium-economy and economy.
Shedding more light on the Allegris concept, which Janzen said will be announced in February 2023, he said it’s “basically a new seat in each cabin.” According to Lufthansa, the first class will be a completely new suite concept with nearly ceiling-high walls that can be closed for privacy. “We involved our customers in the development and got a lot of feedback,” he said.
On the business-class side, seven different products will be offered, “so you can individually choose what fits you best. For example, they have an extra legroom seat with a longer bed; we also have a so-called King seat where you have more space on both sides,” Janzen explained. “You can choose what fits your needs best.”
He said it’s all about catering to the trend of personalization. “Everybody likes something different so that concept goes in that direction. It's a tremendous step and a huge investment. We are sure our customers will appreciate it.”
And then it continues to premium economy and economy class, with bigger screens. There will be a Sleeper’s Row 2.0 in economy. “These are new ideas and concepts where we feel like we have something in each cabin for our customers.”
“But it doesn't stop at the seat,” he said. “Of course, you're also talking about food and beverage, service concept lounges, the whole topic of digitalization self-service—a lot of areas that we learned about during the crisis, plus through a lot of customer feedback. Now is the time to take action and implement new products,” he said.
“All of these investments give us confidence that people will continue to travel, and we don't see any signs this will change in the next 12 months.”