Lufthansa is seeing an increase in business passengers given the low COVID-19 incidence domestically and more broadly across Europe as a whole. The airline has been seeing an increase across the past four weeks, a trend also noticed by the country’s rail operator, Deutsche Bahn.
The number of COVID-19 infections in Germany has been steadily falling over the past months. As of this morning, across the whole country, the seven-day incidence is just five cases per 100,000 individuals, while the highest of an individual district is 28 per 100,000. At the same time, 38% of the population is now fully vaccinated, with Lufthansa getting involved to do its bit.
Business travel rebound
Demand for business travel was always feared to be one of aviation’s worst casualties from the COVID-19 pandemic. On one side of the table, executives were saying that in the age of the home office, there was no need for travel thanks to zoom, Microsoft teams, and other similar platforms.
Other executives were confident that demand would eventually return, with some saying that a zoom meeting can’t replace a handshake. For them, the question was when the rebound would take place. Given the latest figures from Lufthansa, it seems the rebound will start in September.
According to Zeit.de, the airline has seen that the “business demand for air travel is clearly on the rise again”. However, we shouldn’t expect too much all at once. Harry Hohmeister, a member of the Lufthansa board, revealed that the airline is only expecting to reach 30-40% of pre-pandemic business travel levels in the second half of 2021.
According to the publication, Hohmeister said,
“For four weeks we have been registering increased demand for business flights for September, October and November. That is a clear signal… We are currently experiencing a comeback in business travel. In Germany and Europe in particular, business demand for air travel is clearly on the rise again.”
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Most flights since the height of the pandemic
It seems that Lufthansa isn’t just seeing the impact of business travelers. A rise in leisure travelers prompted it to schedule its Boeing 747-8s on two-hour intra-EU flights. April 2020 was by far the worst month for the aviation industry. While many airlines suspended operations, Lufthansa carried on with 2,563 flights scheduled, according to aviation data experts Cirium.
July is set to be the best month for Lufthansa since April 2020, with 24,168 flights scheduled for this month. This compares to 48,254 flights in July 2019. In terms of flight numbers, in November and December this year, Lufthansa actually has more flights scheduled than in 2019. Given how far out this is, the schedule may be revised down to meet actual demand. Lufthansa isn’t expecting to exceed 2019 passenger numbers this year.
Do you think that business travel as usual is returning? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!