German flag carrier Lufthansa will transfer five Airbus A380s from Frankfurt to Munich next summer under new plans to overhaul its long-haul operation.
Commenting on the decision, Munich Airport CEO Dr Michael Kerkloh said it was a “future-defining move”. He added: “This is a big day for our competitiveness in the aviation industry. This now firmly anchors our status as one of the major hubs in Europe.”
Kerkloh cited the joint efforts of the carrier and the airport to develop a Munich hub, noting it was “now reaping the rewards of the very successful partnership of Lufthansa and Munich Airport in the joint operation of Terminal 2 and the new satellite facility.
“With the previously announced decision to station 15 A350 XWB long-haul aircraft and the additional five Airbus A380s, Lufthansa has now ensured that the state of Bavaria will have even better links to the global air transportation networks in the future.”
Lufthansa dismissed speculation its move to reallocate capacity away from Frankfurt was related to its currently strained relationship with airport operator Fraport, noting that Munich was enjoying “very strong growth.” The carrier has, however, been vocal about the German facility offering favourable rates to low-cost competitor Ryanair, which opened a base in Frankfurt earlier this year. Speaking in early June, Lufthansa executive board member Harry Hohmeister bemoaned the high charges and fees it was paying and suggested the flag carrier could shift its focus to other regional hubs such as Munich, Vienna and Zurich if a similar deal could not be struck.