rolo987
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Why Is LH Based At FRA?

Fri May 06, 2005 3:42 am

It seems like most national carriers are based in their largest and/or capital city in Europe. Why then is LH based at FRA, when Berlin is the largest city and capital of Germany?
 
Contact Air
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RE: Why Is LH Based At FRA?

Fri May 06, 2005 3:53 am

This is for historic reasons: After World War II, when Germany and Berlin got divided, LH wasn't allowed to fly into Berlin any more (or into the Eastern part of Germany in general). That's why FRA became their home base: it is located very central in the middle of Germany and it has become Germany's financial centre (nearly all large German banks have their headquarters there). The region around FRA is economically strong while Berlin is surrounded by a quite rural area with only few industry.

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BOSSAN
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RE: Why Is LH Based At FRA?

Fri May 06, 2005 3:55 am

Berlin was partitioned between Soviet- and Allied-dominated zones at the end of World War II, and until German reunification (1990) no West German airline was allowed to fly to Berlin. Until then, Pan Am had a significant Berlin-West Germany operation, as did British Airways and Air France.

In addition, Germany is a more decentralized country than many European nations, having only unified in 1870 and having strong business centers in Dusseldorf, Munich, Stuttgart, Hamburg and other cities as well as Frankfurt. Partly as a result of the partition, Berlin did not become as major a postwar business center as many other cities, and has not been able to sustain premium intercontinental traffic when airlines have attempted it over the past decade and a half.
 
ssides
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RE: Why Is LH Based At FRA?

Fri May 06, 2005 4:39 am

Frankfurt is the business and banking capital of continental Europe. Even without the historical connotations, it makes sense for LH to hub in FRA and MUC rather than Berlin.
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AussieItaliano
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RE: Why Is LH Based At FRA?

Fri May 06, 2005 4:57 am

Like Ssides said, FRA is a huge business center. The German Stock exchange is there, and most companies have their German headquarters there. In addition, FRA is also closer to many other business centers like Stuttgart and Dusseldorf.

MUC is also a very economically strong region, as Bavaria always has been. Even when the rest of Germany goes into a recession, MUC seems to avoid it in a lot of ways.

Berlin, on the other hand, is far in the East of modern Germany (it used to be more in the middle before the two World Wars). It has some industry, but not many companies are based there, so not so much business traffic is generated, at least not as much as from FRA and MUC. This is why it makes more sense to operate long hauls from those cities.

LH did, however, try to inaugurate a route from IAD to TXL, but it wasn't very successful. No nonstops to Berlin from North America have been. It will be interesting to see how the CO and DL flights from EWR and JFK do.

Remember, however, that there is a German LCC called Air Berlin (AB) that has a lot of routes (mostly leisure) from Berlin.
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BOAC911
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RE: Why Is LH Based At FRA?

Sun May 08, 2005 1:20 am

By the way, Frankfurt/Main was also the main air field for the airships. It was used as the main point of departure for the Hindenburg on its flights to N. and S. America before the WW2. (Friedrichshafen as well) Two main airship hangars existed on the south side of the airport (Rhein-Main Air Base)
 
backfire
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RE: Why Is LH Based At FRA?

Sun May 08, 2005 1:32 am

Quoting Rolo987 (Thread starter):
when Berlin is the largest city and capital of Germany

Even when Germany was partitioned it was Bonn, not Frankfurt, which was the capital of the west.
 
PanHAM
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RE: Why Is LH Based At FRA?

Sun May 08, 2005 1:42 am

When Lufthansa started again 50 years ago, they had their intercont services from DUS/FRA and HAM. The largest catchment area was around DUS, but the airport over there was too small and surrounded by build-up areas so eventually FRA emerged as the main hub. Nowadays, with only about 35% of the pax originating in Germany, it is (together with MUC) a European and Worlswide hub anyway.

Interesting to know is that the LH HQ is based in CGN, where the AGM is usually held, the main technical base is HAM and direct services from DUS/STR/HAM bypass the hubs.
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senorcarnival
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RE: Why Is LH Based At FRA?

Sun May 08, 2005 2:37 am

Isn't FRA the busiest airport in Germany? It would only make sense that the country's flagship airline be based at the country's biggest/busiest airport.
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PanHAM
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RE: Why Is LH Based At FRA?

Sun May 08, 2005 2:47 am

with a 70% market share for LH and Star Alliance partners, LH makes FRA the busiest airport. We need another runway for landings only and if that is held up in the courts much longer, LH might change rankings if they decide to focus their intercont services on MUC rather than FRA.
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AirplanePeanut
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RE: Why Is LH Based At FRA?

Sun May 08, 2005 3:08 am

Quoting Senorcarnival (Reply 8):
Isn't FRA the busiest airport in Germany? It would only make sense that the country's flagship airline be based at the country's biggest/busiest airport.

It wouldn't be that big if LH wasn't there.
..
 
columba
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RE: Why Is LH Based At FRA?

Sun May 08, 2005 3:33 am

Quoting Rolo987 (Thread starter):
It seems like most national carriers are based in their largest and/or capital city in Europe. Why then is LH based at FRA, when Berlin is the largest city and capital of Germany?



Quoting BOSSAN (Reply 2):
In addition, Germany is a more decentralized country than many European nations, having only unified in 1870 and having strong business centers in Dusseldorf, Munich, Stuttgart, Hamburg and other cities as well as Frankfurt. Partly as a result of the partition, Berlin did not become as major a postwar business center as many other cities, and has not been able to sustain premium intercontinental traffic when airlines have attempted it over the past decade and a half.



Quoting Backfire (Reply 6):
Even when Germany was partitioned it was Bonn, not Frankfurt, which was the capital of the west.

Are there any major US airlines based in Washington D.C. ? I think the most traditional US airlines that represented the US of A comparable like LH does with Germany were Pan Am and TWA. But these airlines weren´t also based in the capital but the largest business city of the US, New York City.
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MQrampBOS
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RE: Why Is LH Based At FRA?

Sun May 08, 2005 4:16 am

Quoting Columba (Reply 11):
Are there any major US airlines based in Washington D.C. ?

Depends on what you mean by based in Washington. US Airways has its headquarters just outside Washington and has a considerable operation at DCA. Meanwhile, UA has a hub at IAD.
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WestWing
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RE: Why Is LH Based At FRA?

Sun May 08, 2005 4:18 am

Quoting Columba (Reply 11):
Are there any major US airlines based in Washington D.C. ?

Well sort of...
US is based in Arlington VA, and is the largest operator out of DCA. Indy Air is a LCC based at IAD. Then UA has a respectable presence at IAD including international ops for Europe and South America. WN has a large operation at BWI (though BWI is definitely more "B" than "W").

But I think the point was that the traffic in/out of the Washington metro is not as high compared to the other population centres like NYC. Which is true.

By the way, TWA was "based" in St. Louis.
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N1120A
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RE: Why Is LH Based At FRA?

Sun May 08, 2005 4:21 am

Quoting WestWing (Reply 13):
By the way, TWA was "based" in St. Louis.

Not originally.
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planespotting
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RE: Why Is LH Based At FRA?

Sun May 08, 2005 4:23 am

yeah, and there aren't any flag carriers based in New York City either (anymore). and there never were "hubs" at new york in the real sense of the word. True US mega hubs are ORD, DFW, MSP, DTW, DEN, IAH and ATL. All large cities, but none of them is the "largest".
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PanHAM
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RE: Why Is LH Based At FRA?

Sun May 08, 2005 4:40 am

Well, I'd call the CO operations at EWR a hub and although they are based with their HQ in Houston, LH's HQ is not in FRA either, its in Cologne. However, FRA is the operational base.

It has been said already that Germany is a de-centralized country with industry spread all over the country and without a single "mega city" like Paris or London. That is reflected in airline ops as well, with CGN taking up a high portion of cargo traffic and MUC developing from a secondary hub to an equal partner of FRA.

Not to forget LEJ becoming the DHL hub for all of Europe in a few years, which will draw additional cargo traffic. Berlin has been left on the odd side here since they have not been able to get their act together in that past 15 years, since the city was re-united. They way the City Government and that of the State of Brandenburg are handling the matter, they won't have the new airport ready in another 15 years.
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