Lufthansa to suspend Manchester-Berlin route

GERMAN airline Lufhansa is suspending its Manchester-Berlin flights after operating it for less than 12 months.

The carrier only launched the daily service in the middle of 2012, and while the response has been good, the lack of profitable business travel on the route has forced airline bosses into a re-think.

UK general manager Christian Schindler explained: “We weren’t disappointed with the passenger numbers at all, but the yields were a bit soft because there was so much leisure traffic on the route.

“The decision was taken to use the aircraft on a more profitable route out of Berlin. This will take effect from the start of the summer schedule 2013.”

Lufthansa, which will continue to operate Manchester to Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich and Stuttgart, said 2012 was a “pleasing year” for passenger number growth.

Mr Schindler said: “For 2012 we were up around 7% on the previous year, which is really positive given the general economic picture. 2013 has also started well for us too.

“The growth to around 746,000 is testament to our high quality service and good pricing. People are happy to bypass Heathrow and use our hubs for onward connections.”

He said South Africa had seen strong growth in onward travel from Manchester passengers, which North West Muslim pilgrims visiting Mecca, were continuing to use its Jeddah service.”

Asked about whether the prospect of direct flights from Manchester to China would be a threat to Lufthansa, he said: “We are used to competition, it’s a good thing. We are confident in our service, product and pricing – we are the only European airline with a five star rating for our first class product.”