Lufthansa Group made up of Lufthansa Airlines (IATA Airline Code – LH), Austrian Airlines (OS), Brussels Airlines (SN), SWISS (LX) and Germanwings (4U) announced its Winter 2015 schedule today.
Per our review of the schedule changes, we noted that, while other airlines are decreasing overall capacity, Lufthansa Group is increasing overall seat kilometers capacity by 2.9%.
Here is a detail look at each region:
Europe gets the most capacity gains from the schedule change. It is worth noting that Lufthansa is transferring more mainline operations to its lower cost subsidiary Germanwings. This is not surprising as there is a lot of competition within Europe by low cost carriers like Ryanair and EasyJet.
The group is increasing capacity to Miami (IATA Airport Code – MIA), Sao Paulo (GRU), Newark (EWR) and Los Angeles (LAX). It is interesting that MIA is getting more capacity as it is not a Star Alliance hub or focus city and thus would not have as much feeder traffic.
The extreme US Southeast region may be underserved after Houston (IAH) flights to Europe (London (LHR), Frankfurt (FRA), Paris (CDG) and Munich (MUC)) from Star Alliances partners have departed (refer to UA’s network map – updated as at October 1, 2014 for information on IAH connections to Europe). The only other cities in the Southeast with direct Star Alliance flights to Europe are from Atlanta (ATL), Tampa (TPA) and Orlando (MCO) (all served by LH). Check the following handy link for an interactive map.
Since LAN and TAM merged to create a big airline for the region, Star Alliance has a void in the Brazil market. As such, more point-to-point flights are required to pick up passengers from South America to Europe. Otherwise, they would have to fly to IAH for 10 hours before being able to connect to a Star Alliance flight to Europe.
Other than a pre-announced Airbus A380-800 introduction to New Delhi (DEL), it is interesting that there is no capacity gains for Asia. The LH group is preparing for an introduction of a low cost long international carrier which might be used to serve Asian cities that may have less yields.
In the next few months, we should start to see the vision Lufthansa Group created for the next 24 months. Namely, we should see how it will tackle:
- Emirates funnelling passengers from Asia to Europe and Americas to Asia bypassing Europe
- Low cost carrier competition within Europe (through the continued tinkering of the Germanwings operations)
- Other Star Alliance airlines competition (specifically from Turkish Airlines (TK))
- Plane utilization (e.g. re-configuring 747s to eliminate first class and introduce the new business class seats in order to increase yields)
- Better cooperation with other Star Alliances airlines (especially with Air India (AI) and Asian partners like ANA (NH) and Asiana (OZ) to manage Asian and Australian feeder traffic.