Shrinking Market? Lufthansa’s UK Routes Have Dropped By 60% Since 2012

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Lufthansa resumed Frankfurt to Edinburgh on March 25th, one of 12 routes the airline will operate to the UK this year. This is down from 31 back in 2012, and is due to some big changes.

Lufthansa CityLine Embraer 190
Lufthansa restarted Frankfurt to Edinburgh on March 25th, operated by a 100-seat CityLine Embraer 190. Photo: Konstantin von Wedelstaedt via Wikimedia.

Lufthansa resumed Frankfurt to Edinburgh on March 25th, with the 643-mile service initially operating six-weekly before it ramps up to 12-weekly later this year. Embraer 190s and CRJ-900s will operate for now, but these will be gradually changed to A319s and A320s as summer progresses.

Lufthansa to Edinburgh
At the time of writing, LH964 is cruising at 34,000 en route to Edinburgh. Flight data: RadarBox.com.

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The schedule settles down later

With a block time of up to two hours to Edinburgh, the schedule varies greatly this first week, although it becomes much more consistent later. The initial schedule is:

Frankfurt-Edinburgh:

  • Monday, Wednesday: 10:10-11:05
  • Thursday, Saturday: 14:05-15:05
  • Friday: 07:20-08:20
  • Sunday: 16:00-16:55

Edinburgh-Frankfurt:

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  • Monday, Wednesday: 11:50-14:40
  • Thursday, Saturday: 15:45-18:35
  • Friday: 09:00-11:50
  • Sunday: 17:40-20:30
Lufthansa CityLine Embraer 190
Frankfurt to Bristol and Newcastle begin on June 28th. Photo: Konstantin von Wedelstaedt via Wikimedia.

86% load factor to Edinburgh

OAG data indicates that Lufthansa had almost 247,000 two-way seats on Frankfurt-Edinburgh in 2019. And with approximately 212,000 passengers, the route had a seat load factor of ~86%.

Just over four in ten passengers were point-to-point (not traveling beyond Edinburgh or Frankfurt), while almost six connected over Lufthansa’s hub. Rome was the top destination, followed closely by Vienna and then Zurich, Munich, and Bremen. Indeed, Germany was by far the leading connecting country, with nearly twice as many passengers as Italy, second.

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Around 80% of passengers connected within Europe, with Beijing the largest non-European origin and destination.

Lufthansa Edinburgh
Rome Fiumicino was the largest origin and destination. Image: GCMap

Lufthansa had 31 UK routes in 2012

Lufthansa’s UK network (mainline and CityLine) has changed significantly. Back in 2012, there were 31 routes to the UK, which involved 11 airports across the UK and the Channel Islands and eight in Germany.

Come 2019, Lufthansa’s UK network reduced to just 12 routes, aided by the growth of Germanwings and then Eurowings and Lufthansa’s greater focus on core Frankfurt and Munich. Simple Flying recently showed that Eurowings will fly between Spain and the UK this summer.

Lufthansa’s own UK network in 2012 comprised:

  1. Aberdeen: Frankfurt
  2. Birmingham: Berlin Tegel; Düsseldorf; Frankfurt; Hamburg; Munich
  3. Edinburgh: Düsseldorf, Frankfurt
  4. Inverness: Düsseldorf
  5. Jersey: Düsseldorf; Hamburg; Munich
  6. London City: Frankfurt, Munich
  7. London Gatwick: Frankfurt
  8. London Heathrow: Berlin Tegel; Cologne; Dresden; Düsseldorf; Frankfurt; Hamburg; Munich; Stuttgart
  9. Manchester: Berlin Tegel; Düsseldorf; Frankfurt; Hamburg; Munich; Stuttgart
  10. Newcastle: Düsseldorf
  11. Newquay: Düsseldorf
Lufthansa A320neo
The A320neo will be by far the most popular aircraft Lufthansa uses to the UK in 2021. Photo: Getty Images.

Dresden is interesting

After British Airways ended Gatwick to Dresden in 2008, bmi took it up from Heathrow in 2010 using A319s on behalf of Lufthansa. Lufthansa then began it using CRJ-900s before it ended in 2012. Seizing the opportunity, CityJet served Dresden from London City between 2013 and 2015, with Ryanair serving the German airport from Stansted in 2019. Talk about a chequered history!

Lufthansa UK
While which airline provides seats and routes to the UK has changed significantly, the total volume has not. Source: OAG Schedules Analyzer.

12 UK routes in 2021

Lufthansa will have 12 UK routes this year from Frankfurt (eight routes) and Munich (four). As you’d expect, Heathrow to Frankfurt is top, followed by Heathrow to Munich.

Lufthansa UK
A once-weekly Munich-Jersey service will operate between May 1st and October 30th. Image: GCMap.

Routes to Bristol and Newcastle will begin on June 28th and be seven-weekly each.

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