Lufthansa Reaches Out to U.S. Market

We've been getting a lot of updates from Germany's air carrier as they look to remain a prime choice for American visitors to Europe. From expanding service to buying shares in domestic airlines to naming planes after U.S. cities, Lufthansa is taking some significant steps to cater to the U.S. market. Here's just some of the latest news:

Last week, Lufthansa resumed its daily Airbus A380 service between San Francisco and Frankfurt. The inbound flight, LH454, is scheduled to depart Frankfurt at 9:50 a.m. (CET) and will arrive at San Francisco International Airport at 12:20 p.m. The outbound flight of this daily roundtrip service, LH455, will leave San Francisco at 2:55 p.m. and arrive in Frankfurt at 10:40 a.m. the following day. 

At the same time, Lufthansa Malta Blues LP purchased $311 notes due 2017 exchangeable into shares of common stock of JetBlue Airways Corporation at the option of the noteholders and guaranteed by Deutsche Lufthansa AG. The offering is expected to settle on or around April 5, 2012. The proceeds from the offering are to be used for general corporate purposes.

"The offering of exchangeable senior notes serves our general Group financing goals, and takes advantage of the currently beneficial market conditions," Christina Semmel, a spokesperson at Lufthansa, told Travel Agent. "Lufthansa continues to be convinced of jetBlue as a company and of its products and services. We will continue to be present in JetBlue's Board of Directors with two representatives. It is also true, however, that our footprint in North America has been fostered by the successful merger of [Continental and United Airlines] and the revenue sharing agreement with CO/UA/AC (called 'Atlantic++'). That being said, the strategic importance of our investment in JetBlue has diminished over the past few years. Whether or not the offering of the senior notes will result in a full divestiture in jetBlue in 2017 cannot be determined at this time."

On Friday, Christoph Franz, Lufthansa chairman of the executive board and CEO and Seth Pinsky, president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, officially named one of Lufthansa’s flagship A380 aircraft “New York.” The Lufthansa Airbus with the registration D-AIMH becomes the airline’s first A380 to be named after a U.S. city. In keeping with tradition, Christoph Franz presented Seth Pinsky with a model of the airline’s flagship aircraft and a certificate commemorating the celebratory name-giving. New York became Lufthansa’s first A380 destination in the U.S. on February 28, 2011. On May 21, the airline will resume its daily A380 service between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Frankfurt.
The airline estimates that nearly 700,000 New Yorkers fly Lufthansa per year and close to one million inbound guests visit New York via Lufthansa. The A380 aircraft offers ten percent more capacity between New York and Germany, and also brings in ten percent more inbound visitors. The Airbus A380 is the world’s most fuel-efficient aircraft, burning about 12 percent less fuel than other wide-body jets, and is approximately 30 percent quieter than the current generation of wide-body aircraft. 

For the record: The custom of naming a plane is a long-standing tradition amongst airlines worldwide. Lufthansa started this custom in 1960 when it began giving its jets the names of German cities. With the introduction of its new flagship, certain Lufthansa A380 aircraft bear the names of some of the air carrier’s most important international gateway cities, thus starting a new tradition. “New York” is the airline’s sixth aircraft to be named after a foreign mega-city. The name—New York—will be on the livery of the plane.