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June 17, 2024
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Lufthansa, which started in business in 1926, is one of the grand old names in commercial aviation.  Today its is Europe’s largest airline group by fleet size. As we will show below, this fleet is diverse and highly complex.  To support that fleet the company as one of the premier MRO operations, known as Lufthansa Technik.  Indeed, despite denials from people in fleet planning at Lufthansa, it seems as though Technik has some influence over the group’s fleet choices.  The Lufthansa Group (LG) is a diverse and complex structure. In addition to ownership or co-ownership in 14 airline brands, the group also own Technik,  Lufthansa Systems, and Lufthansa Consulting.  It also owns SkyChefs, a flight training operation, and other related business units.  Indeed, it seems the only thing LG does not do is make aircraft.  The following chart shows how large the LG fleet has become.

The chart on the left shows actual fleet size and the chart on the right shows the breakdown in percent.  What we can see is that Lufthansa is becoming relatively smaller – in 2000 Lufthansa and Lufthansa City were 83% of the fleet, and this dropped to 50% by 2016.  This is because of adding more new brands such as Swiss, but it also perhaps shows the group moving away from higher cost structures to lower cost structures.  All the network EU-based airlines are facing this problem because of labor costs.  It is a smart choice but also a painful and necessary one.  As we have seen Lufthansa has had a long struggle with its pilot union.

author avatar
Addison Schonland
Co-Founder AirInsight. My previous life includes stints at Shell South Africa, CIC Research, and PA Consulting. Got bitten by the aviation bug and ended up an Avgeek. Then the data bug got me, making me a curious Avgeek seeking data-driven logic. Also, I appreciate conversations with smart people from whom I learn so much. Summary: I am very fortunate to work with and converse with great people.