Single-class Lufthansa CityLine is to introduce separate economy and business cabins on its aircraft from 1 July in response to a surge in leisure traffic. Three-quarters of CityLine's passengers travel on economy tickets, but enjoy the airline's full "City" (business) class service, including meals.

Introduction of Lufthansa mainline's economy class will see meals cease, with inflight service for business passengers improved. The move marks the failure of CityLine's potentially lucrative business-only model, business passengers falling to 26% of last year's 4.9 million total, from 43% in 1996.

CityLine managing director Karl-Heinz Köpfle nevertheless claims the switch was driven by business demand for "a more exclusive service" and "clear class differentiation", and by the need to move in line with Lufthansa's own dual-class product, so as to offer "uniform quality", as well as stiff competition from Alitalia, Finnair, Iberia, KLM, LOT and Swissair, all of whom are two-class.

The two-class cabins will be introduced on the airline's 36 Bombardier Canadair Regional Jets and 18 BAE Systems Avro RJ85s, while talks are underway with Team Lufthansa franchise carriers (which also offer single-class service) on a similar transformation.

Source: Flight International