New Lufthansa Design

Airline Check Lufthansa – against the background of Corona

Esther Nestle
24.03.2020
2 pictures
4 minutes

The following article on the Lufthansa Group was written BEFORE the incisive Corona news of the last few days. At the press conference on 19 March, Executive Board Chairman Carsten Spohr highlighted the “state of emergency of unprecedented proportions”, with drastic measures for the workforce and shareholders. Nobody could foresee the consequences. But even if Corona is currently bringing commercial aviation to its knees, the aero protagonists will get up again, no matter what. Perhaps a targeted look at aviation giants – without whom our modern society and global community would be unthinkable – is more important than ever, especially in these times.

Airline Check Lufthansa Group – Hansa pride and crane elegance

Proud as once the Hanseatic League, elegant as a flock of cranes: With its branding and logo, Deutsche Lufthansa AG has become deeply rooted in the minds of the vast majority of Germans. On the international stage, the airline with the crane on its wing has more than just a weighty word to say – albeit somewhat more subdued than in earlier times since Ryanair took Lufthansa’s former position as Europe’s largest airline in 2019.

The Hansa and the crane, a perfect pair

With the crane logo, graphic designer Otto Firle has achieved a real coup. Created as early as 1918, the Lufthansa bird gracefully flew over a century of German history – an almost unimaginably long period of time in which the crane merely changed colour: from yellow it later changed to blue (on a yellow background). In 2018, the crane received a further refresh and now flies in white on a blue background.

The Lufthansa name dates back a similarly long time; the starting point for this was the merger in 1926 of the two highly indebted predecessor companies Deutsche Aero Lloyd and Junkers Luftverkehr AG. Then came the NSDAP era – a time not very glorious for the still young airline – during which it employed 17,000 forced labourers. In 1951 Lufthansa was dissolved by Allied decree. Two years later, Deutsche Lufthansa AG was newly founded.

Privatisation in two steps

In the 1960s, Lufthansa and Boeing entered the age of jets, in whose development the Germans played a major role. The money needed to buy the modern aircraft was raised on the stock exchange: in 1966, the German government sold its first, larger share. The rest followed in 1997. From then on, Lufthansa was completely privatized, and it still is today.

Despite difficult market conditions in the 1970s, which were marked by the oil and economic crisis, Lufthansa broke the annual “passenger sound barrier” of ten million passengers for the first time in 1975.

Lufthansa and Eurowings

With the entry of low-cost airlines into the market, the battle for market share for the incumbent airlines became increasingly fierce. In response to growing competition, Lufthansa gradually expanded its stake in Eurowings between 2001 and 2011 until it was taken over by Lufthansa as a wholly owned subsidiary on 13 August 2011. Other companies joined the company.

Eurowings - Lufthansa
© Pixabay Rambold Heiner

Today, the Lufthansa Group fleet comprises almost 350 aircraft from nine series.

Complex structures

In addition to the core brand ‘Lufthansa Airline’, there is a whole bundle of other companies under the umbrella of the Lufthansa Group. A total of thirteen subsidiaries belong to the Group: Air Dolomiti, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Eurowings, Eurowings Europe, Germanwings, Luftfahrtgesellschaft Walter, Lufthansa Cargo, Lufthansa Cityline, Sunexpress, Sunexpress Deutschland, Swiss and Edelweiss Air.

Lufthansa Germanwings
© Pixabay PSchulz

The Lufthansa Group consists of three business segments:

145.2 million people took off with the Lufthansa airline and its sisters in 2019. The Irish Ryanair carried 152.4 passengers in the same period and thus overtook the Germans.

Performance no longer fits everywhere

The subsidiaries of the European industry leader Austrian Airline and Brussels Airline are weakening, which is due to the fierce price war with Ryanair and easyJet. The results of Lufthansa Cargo’s freight business have also recently slipped noticeably. Group CEO Carsten Spohr has reacted and ordered drastic cost-cutting programmes for all three loss-makers. There has also been speculation about the sale of the aviation technology business for some time now, and the sale of the Group’s own catering division is already as good as complete. There are also plans to transfer the core brand Lufthansa Airline to a legally independent company in order to sharpen its profile (German article).

Lufthansa
© Pixabay Code83

Renewed (partial) nationalisation no longer completely ruled out

Recently, the Corona crisis has put the entire air transport industry under massive pressure. What only a few days ago was categorically ruled out by all those responsible at Lufthansa – nationalization – sounded somewhat different just a few days later at the press conference on March 19 with Carsten Spohr (German). Nobody knows at this point in time whether even drastic measures such as extended short-time work compensation, liquidity assistance and tax deferrals will be enough to avert another (partial) nationalisation

by Esther Nestle

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