Lufthansa is looking at introducing new seats in its short-haul fleet next year which would allow it to increase capacity while not reducing space for individual passengers.

The move is part of an efficiency drive to reduce costs and offset the effects of the recession as well as growing competition from low-cost carriers such as Air Berlin and Ryanair.

While load factors have held up, yields have dropped, a situation that the airline believes is likely to continue.

No final decision on the seat change has been made, but it is "very likely" that the new seats will be introduced, says a Lufthansa spokesman.

Although no seat manufacturer has yet been chosen, the carrier is looking at new, slimline designs that would "give more freedom" for individual passengers but which would allow more seats to be introduced.

Lufthansa is also looking carefully at its economy-class short-haul catering, says the spokesman.

While catering levels will remain the same the carrier is looking at simplifying its current multiplicity of contracts. These vary depending on the duration of the flight and are complex to administer.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news