12 Jul 2023, 13:22
James Jackson

Lufthansa aiming to increase domestic flights to compete with railway and video calls

Travel Talk

Lufthansa, Germany’s largest airline, wants to increase the number of domestic flights to compete with rail travel and video conferencing services, the company’s sales manager, Frank Naeve, told Travel Talk magazine as reported in the trade publication Airliners. Naeve said the number of business travellers remained around one third below pre-pandemic levels. “Day trips within Germany have declined, but the demand is still there," he continued, adding “we [want to] make short-haul flying attractive again,” in the interview first published in late June. Sascha Müller-Kränner, Executive Director of environmental NGO Environmental Action Germany (DUH), condemned the move, tweeting that “flights within Germany are climate-damaging nonsense and should be prohibited.” Flying with Lufthansa from Germany's northernmost major city, Hamburg, to Munich in the extreme south takes just over one hour and covers a distance of less than 700 kilometres.

While aviation accounts for only a small share of Germany's total emissions, it is one of the fastest-growing sources, and globally, passenger numbers are projected to grow rapidly over the coming years. Due to the sudden collapse of air traffic during the pandemic, Lufthansa received state bailouts to keep the company afloat, leading to calls to make the credit conditional on a set of far-reaching decarbonisation measures. In May, major Lufthansa shareholders criticised the company’s management for failing to introduce a credible strategy outlining how the carrier intends to shift to climate-neutral aviation.

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