Officials with German airline Lufthansa want to be very clear: There are no plans to end the airline’s daily service to Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
To help drive the point home, Lufthansa introduced its new station manager to members of the Charlotte media Wednesday night. Philip Maret most recently worked as duty manager for Lufthansa at Los Angeles International Airport, and started his job as Lufthansa’s Charlotte station manager in June.
After US Airways’ December merger with American Airlines, US Airways left the Star Alliance, where it had been a partner with Lufthansa. Airline analysts speculated that without an alliance partner to help feed local passengers to Charlotte Douglas for Lufthansa, the airline would cut its Charlotte service.
But Lufthansa spokesman Nils Haupt said the Charlotte region’s strong base of German-owned companies gave the airline enough corporate business to stay profitable. In fact, he said the Charlotte route is one of the airline’s most profitable.
“Lufthansa’s Charlotte to Munich route is considered a vital link to the economies of Europe, in particular the automotive and electronic industries in southern Germany,” said Haupt.
Wednesday’s event was the second time in six months the airline has made such assurances in Charlotte. Company officials visited Charlotte in January to meet with the German American Chamber of Commerce and Charlotte Douglas officials to reassure them.
Lufthansa is the largest of three foreign-flagged carriers that fly to Charlotte Douglas. Air Canada Jazz and Insel Air, which flies to Aruba and Curacao, also have service to Charlotte.
American Airlines – which is still flying planes under the US Airways name – is the biggest carrier at Charlotte, operating more than 90 percent of daily departures. Even though they are no longer alliance partners, Lufthansa has an operating agreement with American allowing the U.S. carrier to sell tickets on its Charlotte-Munich flight.
Lufthansa currently operates the daily Munich flight with an Airbus A340.
Portillo: 704-358-5041; Twitter: @ESPortillo
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