The Lufthansa Group Operates 9/10 Of Domestic Flights In Germany

Nine out of ten domestic flights within Germany are operated by the Lufthansa Group. Despite the considerable drop in services prompted by recent events, the airline group’s share of the market has remained roughly the same over three and a half years.

Lufthansa, Domestic, Market Share
Nine out of ten German domestic flights are operated by the Lufthansa Group. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

For much of 2018, over 20,000 domestic flights were operated each month within Germany. However, the number has been in decline, even before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this, the flag carrier Lufthansa and its group subsidiaries have maintained their stronghold of the domestic market.

The following article uses data from aviation data experts Cirium and the German Airport Association (ADV). All graphs can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Flag carrier retains dominance through COVID-19

As the flag carrier of Germany, it comes as no surprise that Lufthansa accounts for over half of all domestic flights operated within Germany. However, alongside its subsidiary Eurowings, this figure rises to an impressive 90% of all flights within the country. Moreover, while the figure fluctuates from month to month, it has sat at 88.15% on average since January 2018.

Lufthansa, Domestic, Market Share
The Lufthansa Group’s domestic market share since January 2018. Data: Cirium

Outside of the Lufthansa Group, easyJet used to be the second-largest domestic player within Europe’s largest economy. However, while the airline has turned Berlin Brandenburg Airport into a considerable base, it hasn’t operated any domestic flights within the country since May 2020 at the height of the pandemic’s first wave.

Interestingly, May 2020 was the one month that Lufthansa struggled to maintain its share of the market. That month Lufthansa operated 930 domestic flights, with Eurowings operating 284 flights (1,214 flights across the group). However, during the same month, easyJet operated 570 flights, with all other airlines operating 35 flights. This led to the Lufthansa Group’s market share falling to just 66.74% for the month.

Lufthansa, Domestic, Market Share
easyJet was briefly a major domestic player in May 2020. Data: Cirium

Passenger numbers already dropping pre-COVID

The number of passengers using German domestic flights was already in decline long before the COVID-19 pandemic arrived on the continent. According to the number of domestic passengers recorded by the Flughafenverband ADV (airport association), from August 2019 to February 2020, the number of passengers carried on domestic flights was down year on year.

Lufthansa, Domestic, Market Share
The number of domestic passengers within Germany was already decreasing before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. Data: ADV

Of course, the numbers remained down year on year from March onwards. However, this is not a surprise given the arrival of the pandemic, so the data isn’t reliable for analyzing the downward trend.

At the time of writing, the ADV’s data only stretches as far as April 2021. While passenger numbers were still lower than the late summer season last year, it was the first time that passenger numbers had been up year on year since June 2019. It will be interesting to see how the data develops in the following months as the country continues to drop its COVID-19 restrictions.

Lufthansa, Domestic, Market Share
As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to drop, Germany’s domestic network is on the rise. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

We can look at the number of flights being operated, as this is already available from aviation data experts Cirium for May and June. These show the number of flights continuing to climb month on month as the number of COVID-19 cases falls. This is despite Lufthansa replacing its shortest domestic flight with a bus service.

Lufthansa, Domestic, Market Share
The number of domestic flights has been rising month on month since February. Data: Cirium

According to the Robert Koch Institute, as of June 25th, the seven-day incidence of cases per 100,000 individuals had fallen to 6.2, a number not seen since August 7th, 2020. The primary difference year on year is that a significant portion of the population in Germany is now partially (52.9%) and fully (34.1%) vaccinated.

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Frankfurt to Munich

Frankfurt to Munich is a crucial route for Lufthansa, connecting its two significant hubs by air. In October 2018, the airline operated 932 flights between the two cities averaging roughly 30 flights a day, 15 in each direction.

Lufthansa, Domestic, Market Share
Frankfurt – Munich flights have been climbing reasonably consistently since May 2020. Data: Cirium

While German domestic flights fell month on month from September 2020 to February 2021, this wasn’t the case for this major route. Except for a slight blip in February, the number of flights on this route has been climbing month on month since May 2020. In June 2021, 342 flights are scheduled on the route. This equates to an average of six flights each day in each direction.

What do you make of Lufthansa’s domestic dominance? Do you think domestic flights in Germany will return to pre-pandemic levels? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!