Key Points:

  • Lufthansa Group's new short- and medium-haul carrier, City Airlines, set to initiate operations from Frankfurt and Munich in summer 2024.

  • The creation of City Airlines aims to enhance the competitive edge of Lufthansa's short-haul network and support its long-haul growth ambitions in Germany.

  • Lufthansa Group offers CityLine employees voluntary switch to City Airlines in the wake of union restrictions on aircraft seat capacity.

FRANKFURT — Lufthansa Group has shared its plans to commence flight operations through its new carrier, City Airlines, by summer 2024. Originating from its hubs in Frankfurt and Munich, this carrier will run in conjunction with the regional Lufthansa CityLine. Founded in 2022, City Airlines obtained its Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) in June of the same year. The airline's early phase will see the deployment of Airbus A319 twinjets, with considerations also being made for potentially incorporating Airbus A220s or Embraer jets into its fleet.

New Carrier City Airlines to Bolster Lufthansa's Short-Haul Network

The inception of City Airlines is rooted in Lufthansa Group's strategic objective to fortify its short-haul connectivity. By amplifying its presence in the short-haul domain, the group aims to solidify its market standing and effectively complement Lufthansa's primary line's envisioned long-haul expansion within Germany.

City Airlines Provides Opportunities Amidst Union Restrictions on CityLine

Highlighting the unique positioning of City Airlines, Carsten Spohr, the Chief Executive of Lufthansa Group, pointed out the carrier's role as an alternative to CityLine. A union agreement imposes a restriction on CityLine, barring it from operating aircraft with over 75 seats post-2026. This limitation proves challenging as CityLine's current fleet, including A320-family jets, Embraer 190s, and Bombardier CRJ900s, all surpass the stipulated seat capacity.

Recognizing this constraint, Lufthansa Group, in its 25 October announcement, mentioned the possibility for its group employees, especially from CityLine, to negotiate voluntary transitions to City Airlines. Furthermore, Spohr indicated that City Airlines might offer a new base for pilots formerly affiliated with Germanwings, an operation that discontinued flights in 2020. Emphasizing the carrier's vision, Jens Fehlinger, City Airlines' managing director, stated, "Through City Airlines, our goal is to pave the way for future opportunities, fostering sustainable employment in Germany while simultaneously fortifying our Munich and Frankfurt hubs."