Saturday, September 17, 2016

Lufthansa: The Lost Russian Service, Summer 2012

Related to the post from last week about the withdrawal of Aeroflot's flights from Berlin-Tegel, the archival stacks of the Timetablist revealed a near-vintage item of relevance: a Lufthansa Systemwide Timetable from June-October 2012, graphically executed in the neat, straightforward Teutonic presentation that is classic Lufthansa—but issued only as a PDF instead of a bulkier booklet, a customer (and aviation nerd) service that, somewhat amazingly, Lufthansa still provides on its website

Although just four years old, the reference in the Timetablist library features over a dozen destinations that have since been terminated. In particular, Lufthansa has retreated remarkably from Russia, a zone it made great efforts to penetrate in the 1990s and 2000s. Relatedly included: LH's lost service from Munich to Donetsk, the metropolitan area of 2 million in eastern Ukraine which is now self-proclaimed as independent, which caused Lufthansa to withdraw in 2014. A year earlier, the thrice-weekly Frankfurt-Perm-Kazan operation was closed and then separately Yekaterinburg was dropped in December due to lack of profitability. 

While several major non-Russian carriers still serve many of these airports—notably Turkish Airlines, which overtook Lufthansa to become now the largest foreign carrier in Russia—the disappearance of Lufthansa from secondary centers in Russia is an undeniable loss of prestige for these cities, and an evident effect of the decline of Russia's political and commercial ties with Germany. 2012 might not be that long ago, but much has changed. 

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