87% Of Lufthansa’s 2019 US And Canada Passengers Were Connections

Lufthansa is a hugely important operator between the US/Canada and Europe. In 2019, it carried approximately 7.80 million passengers in this market for a seat load factor of ~91%. Showing how much of a hub-and-spoke airline Lufthansa is, about 81% of its US/Canada passengers connected over Frankfurt/Munich. Where did they go?

87% Of Lufthansa’s 2019 US And Canada Passengers Were Connections
Lufthansa achieved an estimated seat load factor of 91% to/from the US/Canada in 2019. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

While the year 2019 feels a long time ago because of COVID-19, it’s highly interesting to look back at this ‘normal’ year to examine and understand Lufthansa’s role and operation. That year, the German airline had 35 routes in this market, which has increased by one in the current year. Of these 35 routes:

  • 19 were from Frankfurt to the US
  • Three were from Frankfurt to Canada
  • 10 were from Munich to the US
  • Three were from Munich to Canada
87% Of Lufthansa’s 2019 US And Canada Passengers Were Connections
While the A380 for Lufthansa is no more, the aircraft operated eight of the airline’s 35 US/Canada routes in 2019. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

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91% load factor to the US and Canada

The German giant had 8.55 million round-trip seats to the US and Canada in 2019. Looking at booking data obtained via OAG Traffic Analyzer, the carrier transported approximately 7.8 million passengers.

This means it had an estimated seat load factor in this market 91%. This was meaningfully higher than the 82.5% it achieved at system level that year, according to its annual report.

87% Of Lufthansa’s 2019 US And Canada Passengers Were Connections
Transit passengers over Frankfurt/Munich were utterly vital for Lufthansa. Without them, its US/Canada operation would necessarily be very significantly smaller. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

81% transited over Frankfurt and Munich

Of Lufthansa’s estimated 7.80 million US and Canada passengers, approximately:

  • 5.68 million transited over Frankfurt/Munich
  • 1.31 million were to point-to-point to/from Frankfurt/Munich
  • 611,000 were so-called ‘bridging’ passengers (see below)
  • 199,000 flew from elsewhere via a US/Canada airport served by Lufthansa to Frankfurt/Munich

Significantly, more than seven in ten passengers (73%) transited over Frankfurt/Munich, vividly demonstrating how much of a hub-and-spoke airline Lufthansa is. When bridging passengers are included – those routing, say, Kansas City-Chicago-Frankfurt-Cairo – passengers transiting rises to about 81%.

Therefore, only 19 in every 100 Lufthansa passengers had Frankfurt and Munich as their origin and destination (O&D). Yet as a country, Germany was highly significant for transit passengers.

87% Of Lufthansa’s 2019 US And Canada Passengers Were Connections
Lufthansa had just over 355,000 Los Angeles passengers who transited, with Tel Aviv was the largest O&D. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Top regions and countries

Lufthansa revolves around those transiting across Western Europe. This region had almost three times as many US/Canada passengers as the second-largest region, Central and Eastern Europe.

As you would expect, South Asia was significant. It was the third-largest, although it was notably less dominant than for Qatar Airways. Africa, meanwhile, was relatively minimal, with fellow Star member Ethiopian Airlines far more targeted on this market.

87% Of Lufthansa’s 2019 US And Canada Passengers Were Connections
US/Canada-South Asia was Lufthansa’s third-largest transit market. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

The importance of Western Europe

The importance of Western Europe for transit passengers is clear to see. Germany was the largest transit country-market to/from the US/Canada with approximately 11 in 100 passengers. At city-level, Hamburg-New York was the largest O&D; at airport-level, it was San Francisco-Berlin Tegel (as the airport then was).

  1. Germany
  2. Italy
  3. India
  4. France
  5. Poland
  6. Spain
  7. Greece
  8. Switzerland
  9. Austria
  10. Israel
87% Of Lufthansa’s 2019 US And Canada Passengers Were Connections
Delhi-Toronto (DEL-YYZ) was the #1 O&D. Image: GCMap.

Where in the world?

Delhi to/from Toronto was Lufthansa’s number-one O&D in 2019, as shown below, despite Air Canada and Air India both operating it non-stop.

  1. Delhi-Toronto
  2. Tehran-Vancouver
  3. Chicago-Krakow
  4. Athens-Chicago
  5. Rome-San Francisco
  6. San Francisco-Berlin Tegel
  7. Barcelona-San Francisco
  8. Tehran-Toronto
  9. Chicago-Sofia
  10. New York JFK-Prague
  11. Bangalore-San Francisco
  12. Hamburg-New York JFK
  13. Athens-Washington Dulles
  14. Los Angeles-Tel Aviv
  15. Milan Malpensa-San Francisco

Meanwhile, Tehran-Vancouver, Lufthansa’s second-largest O&D, will be a core target market for Turkish Airlines on its new Vancouver-Istanbul service.

Have you transited over Frankfurt or Munich? Let us know in the comments!

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