Lufthansa passenger traffic cracks 90 million

Germany's leading airline Lufthansa said Wednesday its business got a big lift last year from recovery in air travel, reporting that its traffic jumped 17.2 percent to 90.2 million passengers.

Lufthansa passenger traffic cracks 90 million
Photo: DPA

That was a result of an upturn in the air transport sector and acquisitions by the airline group, which includes the carriers Swiss, BMI and Austrian Airlines, a statement said. With respect to Lufthansa operations alone, traffic gained a more modest

5.9 percent to 58.9 million passengers, it added.

The group consolidated results from BMI and Austrian airlines in mid 2009 so last year was the first full 12-month period to reflect their contributions.

Lufthansa also had to deal with several negative events in 2010, from the paralysis of European flights in April owing to the Icelandic volcano eruption to massive cancellations in December because of inclement weather.

Lufthansa had to cancel more than 4,500 flights last month as snow and ice hampered operations at European airports, including its hubs in Frankfurt and Munich, leading to the loss of €65 million ($84 million), it said.

But while European traffic declined by 0.5 percent on a 12-month basis in December, it gained 3.7 percent elsewhere, giving the German carrier a slight overall increase of 0.2 percent to 6.47 million passengers.

Its freight operations carried 1.8 million tonnes of merchandise and mail last year, an increase of 18.2 percent from 2009.

Lufthansa has forecast an operating profit of more than €800 million for 2010, and says it will do better this year. It has announced the creation of 4,000 jobs even as it pursues a programme to cut costs.

Shares in the airline gained 0.81 percent to €17.32 in early afternoon trading, while the DAX index of German blue-chips was 1.48 percent higher overall.

On Tuesday, Lufthansa’s biggest German rival Air Berlin said it had carried 33.6 million passengers in 2010, an annualised gain of 3.8 percent and a new record for the carrier.


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Is Leipzig really Germany’s ‘ultimate travel destination’?

The Saxonian city of Leipzig has been named by traveller’s bible Lonely Planet as its “ultimate” travel tip for Germany. Does the Local Germany’s knowledgeable readership agree?

The city centre of Leipzig.
The city centre of Leipzig. Photo: Jan Woitas/dpa-Zentralbild

Long a cult favourite among Germany fans, the left-wing city of Leipzig appears to now be gaining mainstream recognition after the Lonely Planet crowned it the country’s top travel destination this week.

In a new book titled “Ultimate German Travel Destinations – the top 250”, the travel publisher put Leipzig ahead of picturesque getaways such as Lake Constance and the Zugspitze as its number one destination.

“The hype that some say surrounds the city isn’t hype t all: Leipzig really is hipper than Berlin, and hotter than Munich, especially among millennials,” the guidebook boldly claims.

It goes on to lavish praise on the city of 600,000 inhabitants as “young, exciting, multifaceted – sometimes colourful, sometimes grey – and with a vibrant liveliness.”

“Everyone wants to go to the city where the anti-GDR demonstrations started,” the guidebook continues. “It is the home of Auerbachs Keller (made famous by Goethe and Faust); it’s the city of street art and wave gothic festivals; and its artistic scene at the Baumwollspinnerei is second to none.”

READ ALSO: A love letter to the eastern German city of Leipzig

‘Not cooler than Berlin’

Reaction to the list among the Local’s readership was mixed.

“It is a beautiful city and it’s easy to navigate. I find it hard to say that it’s cooler than Berlin, though. Berlin simply has more,” one reader told us on Facebook. “It’s the kind of place where people find their ‘spot.” I think most people in Leipzig know about most places in Leipzig. It’s a much smaller city. That may just be a more favourable lifestyle for some.”

Praise for Saxony’s biggest city ranged from admiration for the beauty of its architecture (particularly its train station) to the vibrancy of its arts scene.

Others suggested that Leipzig is indeed overhyped and that it can’t compete with natural wonders such as the pristine Königssee in the Bavarian Alps.

Lake Constance wins silver

Lake Constance, the country’s largest body of fresh water, came in second on the list.

The authors praised the southern See, which borders Switzerland and Austria, for “the many beautiful spots on its shores: Lindau, Meersburg, Überlingen, Constance and more – often surrounded by lush orchards.”

A regatta on the Bodensee in September 2021. Photo: dpa | Felix Kästle 

Hamburg’s new Elbphilharmonie concert hall came in third. 

“It’s impossible to imagine the Hanseatic city’s skyline without this glass work of art, which soars into the sky above the harbour like a frozen wave,” the book notes.

Also in the top ten were the Wattenmeer, which is a huge nature reserve on the North Sea coast, Berlin’s museum island, the sandstone hills of Saxony, and Germany’s highest peak, the Zugspitze in Bavaria.