Today in Aviation, German flag-carrier Lufthansa launched its new Italian subsidiary in 2009.
Lufthansa Italia (LH) was unveiled in November 2008. Lufthansa had wanted to increase its presence in Northern Italy for several years. It first looked at expanding its Air Dolomiti (EN) subsidiary, and plans were to base six of its Embraer E195s at Milan Malpensa (MXP) to commence numerous new routes.
But the parent later decided that it would be best to establish a whole new airline, its first outside of Germany.
To differentiate itself from its German parent LH Italia offered several Italian touches onboard. These included Italian speaking Cabin and Flight Crews and locally-sourced Italian food and drink.
Nine 138-seat Airbus A319s would be sourced from mainline Lufthansa or its low-cost offspring Germanwings (4U).
Flights from MXP to Barcelona (BCN) and Paris (CDG) were flown on the first day. The airline soon added Brussels (BRU), Budapest (BUD), Bucharest (OTP), London Heathrow (LHR), Lisbon (LIS) and Madrid (MAD) to the route map. Twenty-one routes in total would be served.
A year after taking to the skies, Lufthansa Italia had carried 800,000 passengers. Sadly passenger numbers failed to meet expectations. Rival easyJet (U2), who also had a significant presence at MXP, quickly slashed fares and increased frequencies on the 17 out of 21 routes the pair competed.
In May 2011, Lufthansa announced that the subsidiary would be folded back to its parent. Its final flight took place on October 29 that year.
© Jet Back In Time by Lee Cross