Lufthansa will not be diverted from its mission to regain its reputation as a premium quality carrier with a raft of product innovations, distribution system changes and the aim to be the “number one” in hub and point-point systems in Europe, says its chief executive Carsten Spohr.

Speaking at a media briefing at the IATA AGM in Miami, Spohr said Lufthansa will not do any U-turn over a plan to impose a controversial €16 surcharge for every ticket issued by a booking channel using a Global Distribution System from September.

There has been a storm of protest from the GDSs over the plan, but Lufthansa, which is believed to have been planning the move for two years, will not be swayed. “Otherwise we would not have started it,” says Spohr.

“We need a modernisation of sales channels with more of the percentage of that revenue coming back to airlines,” he says. “That has caused us to incentivise the shift to more direct bookings channels.”

Spohr describes 2015 as the “year of new Lufthansa quality” with a roll-out every quarter. In the first quarter it introduced its new first class cabin while the second quarter saw its new business class unveiled. “By month-end virtually all widebodies will have our new business class,” says Spohr.

During the third quarter Lufthansa will bring in its premium economy class for its widebody fleet. “Bookings for this new class are about 10% above what was in our business plan,” says Spohr.

In the final quarter of 2015 Lufthansa will roll-out its Wings concept which sees the group bundling its smaller operations under the Eurowings brand.

The aim is that the Wings operation will become the “number one point-to-point carrier in our home markets”, says Spohr. “Eventually the aim is to become the third largest point-to-point carrier in Europe...because we can’t withdraw to London and Paris as my competitors have done,” he explains.

In hub terms, Lufthansa’s strategy is to be the “number one premium hub system in Europe” with that group of airports consisting of Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich and Vienna, says Spohr.

Source: Cirium Dashboard