Comment and analysis on all things Charlotte

Lufthansa fights to keep CLT-MUC

With MUC being the airport code for Munich, Germany. The Charlotte Observer has an informative article on Lufthansa’s efforts to keep the route going once US Airways leaves the Star Alliance, which the German airline is a key member of. Good to see Lufthansa trying; time will tell whether they are successful.

One key aspect the article doesn’t get into is that American Airlines traditionally doesn’t do well at all in Germany. American currently operates a combined total of one flight a day to Frankfurt and Munich, Germany’s top two markets (Dalls/Ft. Worth – Frankfurt). That’s it. Thus, one thing the combined carrier hopes to get out of the merger is a stronger presence in certain European markets, beginning with Germany. So the other part of the equation is going to be how well the New American can do from Philadelphia to Frankfurt and Munich and from Charlotte to Frankfurt after it leaves the Star Alliance, and thus is less attractive to Lufthansa’s vast German frequent flyer base and can’t offer the same level of codeshare connections to destinations on the continent. Time again will tell, but it’s doubtful that CLT-Frankfurt will be double daily in summer 2015 like it is this coming summer.

Two inaccuracies in the story: The Munich flight isn’t quite daily in winter — it’s only operating six days a week this month and in February, but will be back up to daily come March. Then there’s this quote: “[New York-based aviation analyst Bob] Mann said Lufthansa might consider downsizing the Charlotte-Munich flight to a smaller aircraft than the Airbus A330 that operates the route.” That isn’t really an option, as Lufthansa proper doesn’t have aircraft with transatlantic range smaller than the Airbus A330-300s or A340-300s that the airlines flies to Charlotte during the winter. Which means that if Lufthansa were to cut capacity to CLT next winter — demand to/from Europe is strongly season — it would have to come by the airline offering fewer flights a week.

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