Lufthansa Nears 70% Pre-Pandemic Capacity on China Routes


Lufthansa Airlines has restored 70% of its pre-COVID-19 capacity on routes to and from China and is exploring the possibility of introducing new routes to the region, CEO Jens Ritter announced on Friday. Speaking to reporters in Shanghai, Ritter expressed optimism about the future, despite current challenges such as a need for stronger demand and delays in aircraft deliveries.


“We are very confident about the economy of China,” stated Ritter during his inaugural visit to Asia since taking over as CEO in April 2022. He added, “We are eager to increase our capacity towards China.”

The airline has noticed a shift in the travel habits of Chinese customers, who are now favoring individual travel over the large group tours that were popular pre-pandemic. There’s also a growing preference for higher comfort levels, with more passengers opting for business class or premium economy. According to Ritter, there is also a resurgence in demand for business travel.

As part of its expansion strategy in China, the German airline is considering launching flights to additional Chinese cities. “Besides the connection to Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai, we are evaluating other parts of China,” Ritter explained, mentioning Shenyang and Qingdao as potential new destinations.

This visit also marks the 30th anniversary of Lufthansa’s inaugural route from Frankfurt to Shanghai. While domestic travel in China has seen a robust recovery following the lifting of COVID restrictions in early 2022, international travel continues to struggle with issues such as visa availability, high ticket prices, and low consumer confidence within China.

Flight Master, a flight tracking application, indicates that the total number of international flights to and from China still remains about 70% of what it was before the pandemic, reflecting the ongoing challenges in fully restoring international air travel to pre-pandemic levels.

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