Carsten Spohr, CEO of Lufthansa German Airlines, has revealed that the airline is aiming to start flying the A380 to Shanghai by this summer, as part of an ongoing expansion plan to increase coverage of China.
“We just took up two destinations two years ago – Shenyang and Qingdao – and we are expanding capacity with bigger aircraft,” he said. The airline has begun flying the B747-8 to Hong Kong this month (see review).
“We will put the A380 into Shanghai, hopefully in the summer as we are still working with the authorities.” Currently, the daily Frankfurt-Shanghai LH728/729 flights use a B747-400, and the aircraft change can result in almost 200 extra seats on each leg. Lufthansa also uses the superjumbo for Beijing.
But the German flag carrier has recently announced rather disappointing results with Asia-Pacific routes.
“The market has become a little bit flatter, which means it’s still growing but not as strongly as in the past,” Spohr said.
The devaluation of the yen has also eaten into the airline’s profits, as 75 per cent of the tickets for Lufthansa flights between Germany and Japan, its second largest Asian market after China, are sold in Japan.
“It is also true that the big growth of hub carriers in Dubai, in Qatar and in Abu Dhabi take away some of the growth via those hubs, while we are relocating aircraft to the Western hemisphere, in the United States and so on where we are growing right now.
"It’s not the end of growth in Asia-Pacific, but it’s true that for us the region has not performed as well in the first quarter as we would hope.”