Man I hate United!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Webb: United blocking Lufthansa
By Greg Griffin
Denver Post Business Writer
Aug. 31, 2000 - United Airlines is trying to block Lufthansa German Airlines from starting daily nonstop flights from Denver to Frankfurt, Mayor Wellington Webb said Wednesday.
In a letter to United chairman and chief executive James Goodwin, Webb pressed the Chicagobased carrier to support Lufthansa, which is expected to decide next week whether Denver or Phoenix gets the service. Webb referred to a meeting in which United route planners allegedly said they would not honor their code-sharing agreement for Lufthansa travelers coming to Denver.
As code-share partners, United and Lufthansa allow passengers to connect seamlessly from one airline to the other and to plan trips as if the carriers were one. The arrangements are common among international airlines that don't compete on many routes.
"I am concerned that United management has told Lufthansa that they would neither support their nonstop service entry into the Denver market from Frankfurt nor work with them if they went ahead," Webb wrote.
"Since Lufthansa is your codeshare partner, we assumed you would welcome them into this market since you know how important it is for Denver International Airport to have nonstop service to Frankfurt."
Lufthansa officials have said the code-share arrangement is critical to making the service profitable in Denver, where United controls 70 percent of passenger traffic.
The conversation Webb refers to in the letter occurred two weeks ago, and Webb heard about it from someone who was there, city officials said Wednesday.
United spokesman Kurt Ebenhoch said the airline had not received Webb's letter by the end of business Wednesday and could not comment. Officials for Lufthansa could not be reached.
In his letter, Webb said United president Rono Dutta had committed to sharing passenger ticket counter space with Lufthansa, which the German carrier needs to operate the flights.
"This arrangement must be in place so that air service will begin in 2001," Webb said.
The city of Denver has been trying for several years to secure daily nonstop service from DIA to Frankfurt, one of Europe's principal business and air-transportation hubs. Lufthansa and United both expressed interest in the route, and the U.S. carrier has said it would consider starting the service on a seasonal basis before committing to year-round daily flights.
Efforts to secure the service, however, were hampered by Denver's thin air, which makes it difficult for big, trans-Atlantic aircraft to lift off on hot summer days. The city resolved that problem to Lufthansa's satisfaction this year by making runway modifications, but United remains undecided.
The Frankfurt route is No. 1 on Webb's list of future international routes for DIA. The city's airport would serve as a gateway to Europe for Denver travelers, Denver officials say. Denver would play a similar role for German visitors traveling to the Rocky Mountain region.
Webb may be feeling additional pressure from the fact that the city recently opened a trade office in Frankfurt, banking on direct flights in the near future.
The only current direct service to Europe is British Airways' daily flights to London's Gatwick Airport. United said in May it will begin competing service to Gatwick if its merger with US Airways is approved.