This summer, Lufthansa is set to fly its Airbus A350 between Newark and Malta. According to several sources, it seems that the A350 will be roped in for charter flights to ferry Viking Cruise passengers across the Atlantic Ocean.
It’s not unusual for Lufthansa’s Airbus A350 aircraft to fly to Malta. Despite the short distance of such a flight, the airline has a Lufthansa Technik maintenance base on the island. This sees all sorts of maintenance activities undertaken. One of the airline’s A350s, D-AIXJ, was recently transformed into a climate research plane at the site.
Flying from Newark to Malta
According to One Mile At A Time, Lufthansa is set to fly its Airbus A350 aircraft from Malta to Newark this summer. Up to three times a week over the summer, the airline’s A350 aircraft will operate the following flights,
- LH489 – Newark (EWR) 20:45 – Malta (MLA) 11:25+1 – Airbus A350-900 – 08h40m
- LH488 – Malta (MLA) 15:15 – Newark (EWR) 19:00 – Airbus A350-900 – 09h45m
This may seem like an incredibly odd routing for a German carrier’s Airbus A350’s, but when the pieces are put together, it all makes sense. Twitter user @xJonNYC managed to put the pieces together to realize that the flights are actually charter flights to support the operation of Viking Ocean Cruises this summer. It seems that the flights are scheduled to coincide with the sailing date of ships from the island.
This was confirmed by a Lufthansa spokesperson, who told Simple Flying,
“Lufthansa plans to offer a series of flights this summer between New York (Newark Airport) and Malta in conjunction with a large cruise company which will operate cruises in the Mediterranean.”
At the moment, it seems as though Lufthansa will only offer these flights to those booked onto a Viking Ocean Crusie this summer, meaning that others planning to fly to the island will likely need to do so via the airline’s Frankfurt hub.
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Not the first Lufthansa A350 charter
Interestingly, this is not the first time Lufthansa’s Airbus A350 fleet has been called upon for charter flights this year. Earlier this year, the airline operated two non-stop flights from Hamburg to the Falkland Islands. With the flights, the airline was able to break its longest-ever flight record not once but twice. The current record now stands at 15 hours and 45 minutes.
The flights were necessitated by the ongoing pandemic, meaning that crew heading to the Polarstern research vessel could not use the usual means of transport. To avoid importing COVID-19 to the Falkland Islands and the ship, all crew and passengers from the flight had to quarantine for 14 days in Hamburg before departing for the adventure.
What do you make of Lufthansa’s strange Airbus A350 routing? Would you want to fly to Malta for a cruise this summer? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!