Star Alliance carrier Lufthansa is to reinforce its Dusseldorf network next year by stationing three of its own long-haul Airbus A340-300s at the city, to replace the all-premium aircraft used on its transatlantic routes.
Lufthansa is to use the A340s to open services from Dusseldorf to Toronto as well as New York and Chicago. The two US destinations are currently served by two 48-seat all-business Airbus narrowbodies operated by Swiss specialist PrivatAir.
Lufthansa will operate A340s to open services from Dusseldorf to Toronto as well as New York and Chicago
These all-business aircraft will continue performing the US services until 30 April next year, when they will be withdrawn from Dusseldorf and used to develop other routes.
The three A340-300s will be transferred in May, as Lufthansa brings in seven new Airbus long-haul aircraft to its fleet; the carrier has seven A340-600s and five A330s on outstanding order.
Lufthansa will serve Toronto five times per week. It will also serve New York daily and raise frequency on the Chicago route to six-times weekly from May.
The New York and Chicago routes are currently served by two 48-seat all-business Airbus narrowbodies operated by Swiss specialist PrivatAir
While Air Berlin serves both New York and Toronto from Dusseldorf through newly-acquired long-haul operator LTU, a spokesman for Lufthansa insists that the expansion is not a response to its rapidly-developing rival.
“The reason is that we’ve been very successful with the Lufthansa business jet in the last couple of years,” he says. “We’ve realised that demand was much greater than the offer we had, and there is an increasing demand for first-class which we couldn’t offer in the business jets.”
Lufthansa will have eight first-class, 48 business-class and 165 economy-class seats in the A340s.
The spokesman adds that a recent court decision on Dusseldorf’s operating licence has enabled the carrier to proceed with stationing the long-haul aircraft there.
Lufthansa already bases around 30 aircraft at Dusseldorf. The city has become an increasingly-important base for the carrier, with 52 destinations this year – up from 39 in 2003.
But all of the routes served by the carrier from Dusseldorf, with the exception of the two transatlantic PrivatAir connections, are domestic and European, and all of the carrier’s aircraft at the German city are short-haul and regional types.
“With the use of additional and larger aircraft we are now proceeding to take a further step in our development in Dusseldorf,” Lufthansa executive board member Karl Ulrich Garnadt. “Although we have already considerably expanded our offer at our Dusseldorf location since 2003, we are convinced that we will also be able to sell the recent growth successfully.”
Lufthansa has already opted to withdraw its PrivatAir-operated connection from Munich to Newark, and shift it to Frankfurt, in favour of deploying an Airbus A330 on the route.