Lufthansa says it is confident it will reach a 70% load factor on its London City-Berlin route by April.
Speaking to ABTN in the German capital this afternoon (14 January) as the airline launched its Berlin service, Lufthansa vice president sales and services Europe, Dr Karsten Benz, painted a bullish picture.
”We consider all our flights to have a load factor of 70% and our entire network figure is 80%,” he said.
Space has become something of a hot potato at London City and with the Docklands site now slot-constrained, it appears that Lufthansa has benefited from the withdrawal of a former, unspecified carrier to free up capacity. Lufthansa will eventually have thrice-daily rotations to Berlin.
”Slots are always an issue in London, but we apply for them on a regular basis,” noted Benz.
The German flag carrier flies into Tegel in Berlin, but is certainly not bemoaning the fact that the historic city centre airport of Tempelhof is to close this year.
”Tempelhof is subsidised but it is a matter of fact that we do not serve it,” said Benz ” ”we do not want to pay for it.”
In any case, Tegel itself is due to cease operations in 2012 as Berlin rationalises all services to Schonefeld in the south east of the city ” the former airport for the GDR and which will be renamed Berlin Brandenburg International (BBI).
Berlin is viewed as a different market to that of London or Frankfurt for example and Lufthansa does not view multiple airports in the capital as desirable: ”We don”t want to confuse our passengers,” added Benz.
The German carrier is also evaluating potential services from Heathrow to the US as the reality of Open Skies comes into force in two months. ”We see future opportunities with the Open Skies agreement,” said Benz adding: ”We are definitely making an analysis [but] no decisions have been made to launch services out of Heathrow.
”We co-operate with Star Alliance partners at Heathrow and there is huge potential there. We always consider opportunities, but we think it should not be disregarded that just one slot out of Heathrow [for example] is not so competitive. For business travellers, it is important to have a choice ” that makes a difference.”