TORONTO — Lufthansa’s new premium economy seats, introduced on Canadian routes in October 2015, are already a success for the company, says Director, Canada, Hans DeHaan: “People really are willing to pay a little bit more, for a little more space”.
The airline had a rough year with multiple union strikes, but it has risen from 2015 in a healthy state. The Lufthansa Group (Lufthansa, Brussels Airlines, SWISS) flew 107.7 million people in 2015 with one million coming from their Canadian routes. “For 2015 we had a very solid profit, possibly our best year ever,” said DeHaan, speaking at the German National Tourist Board event this week. He attributed the good year mainly to lower oil prices.
For 2016, the group looks to make more money from its passengers through several initiatives such as the new premium economy seats were introduced to Canadian routes last fall. Passengers using the service get 50% more room, an amenity kit and two bags among other perks. Lufthansa projects that 1.5 million passengers will upgrade to the new service.
Other initiatives to increase ancillary revenue include the introduction of WiFi on Lufthansa planes. By 2017 the airline will have the fastest broadband in the air. It also introduced preflight shopping and a ‘Rimowa Electronic Tag’ luggage tracking option.
Sister carrier Austrian Airlines also introduced ‘Flying Chefs’ in Business Class for long-haul flights, enticing passengers to upgrade for a unique culinary experience.
DeHaan also stressed Lufthansa’s Canadian connection with this year marking the 60th anniversary for the airline servicing Canadian routes. SWISS has ordered 30 new Bombardier C Series and are expecting delivery mid-year. Some 30,000 new plane trolleys are also being made in Montreal that will be much lighter. Also its Canadian customer relations centre is based in Peterborough, ON.
DeHaan said Lufthansa is currently Canada’s most preferred foreign carrier and it looks like the airline plans to keep it that way in 2016.