LH has announced it will stop flying CGN-FRA in 2003/4, after the inevitable teething problems (there is e.g. a lack of railtrack capacity in the Cologne area, where the trains have to run on regional railtracks instead of dedicated ones) will have been overcome. AFAIK, the AIRail product, already offered of the Stuttgart-FRA connection, will also be introduced here, giving LH passengers a service comparable to a LH flight:
- baggage check-in at the train station
- reserved seating
- some kind of onboard service (although, let's face it, there's not much service on domestic LH flights, so there may even be an improvement over the plane)
- baggage transfer from the train to the plane
- a guaranteed MCT of (I think) 45min between train and plane in FRA
- and possibly (later on) baggage transfer on inbound flights in FRA, which means that passengers will receive their luggage on check-out at Cologne airport or train station
- dedicated personal on-board and at the train stations
The replacement of flights by a train service is not so much an issue of gaining additonal slots. Replacing the plane on STR, CGN and NUE (there's talk about this at the moment) -flights will not free more than a couple of slots. With the impending construction of FRA's new runway, which will be completed by 2004, there won't be a lack of slots for a while at the LH hub.
More important is the fact that LH can use its planes on more economical flights elsewhere instead of wasting them on those ultra-short domestic runs.
Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!