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Lufthansa readies for Ottawa-Frankfurt route

Lufthansa plane
Lufthansa plane

Germany’s flag carrier is preparing to make its local debut this spring by taking over Air Canada’s seasonal non-stop Ottawa-Frankfurt service – making this the first scheduled flight by a European carrier to Canada’s capital in 24 years.

“More than ever, now is the time for locals to support the Frankfurt operation as Lufthansa is here to test the commercial viability of this non-stop service from YOW to its global hub,” said Mark Laroche, the president and CEO of the Ottawa International Airport Authority. “We’re doing everything we can to help Lufthansa as new stations require significant start up resources. Our team and other airport partners are well-engaged and preparing to provide curb-to-cabin ground support.”

Lufthansa – Europe’s largest airline when its subsidiaries are included – will operate the route using an Airbus A340-300. The aircraft contains 279 seats, including 30 business class and 28 premium economy seats, and is larger than the 211-seat Boeing 767 previously used by Air Canada on the route.

The German carrier is well-known for the quality of its onboard experience and staff service. Aviation consultancy Skytrax gives Lufthansa a five-star rating, with particularly high marks for its seat comfort, personal space and meals.

Lufthansa also received accolades from Skytrax for the level of service at its Frankfurt hub – one of the world’s most connected airports. Lufthansa’s flights are timed so that travellers starting or ending their journey in Ottawa can make smooth connections with flights servicing Beirut, Rome, Delhi, Tel Aviv and other cities.

Taking flight

Lufthansa will launch its Ottawa-Frankfurt service on May 16 with five weekly flights through to Oct. 24, 2020.

Outbound flights will depart Ottawa at 5:55 p.m. and arrive in Frankfurt at 7:20 a.m. the following day.

Inbound flights leave Frankfurt at 1:45 p.m. and land in Ottawa at 4:05 p.m.

Tourism opportunities

Lufthansa operating the Frankfurt-Ottawa route is also poised to stimulate new local tourism opportunities.

Historically, approximately 70 per cent of tickets on this route are purchased locally. That figure is expected to become more balanced as Lufthansa’s sophisticated global marketing channels and strong brand – as well  as Ottawa Tourism support – attract additional leisure travellers from Germany and beyond to Canada’s capital.

The route is also anticipated to remain popular with Air Canada frequent travellers, who can earn and redeem Aeroplan points on the Lufthansa network.

Ottawa airport officials say Lufthansa’s service is an important test to see if the region can sustain non-stop service to a foreign carrier’s hub. If successful, it’s hoped that the route would be gradually expanded beyond summer.

“Air service is a use-it-or-lose-it proposition,” Laroche said, noting that aircraft are portable assets and carriers are always looking to deploy their equipment where demand is strongest.