Lufthansa’s Growing Web of Airline Ownership

Austrian, BMI, Brussels Airlines, JetBlue, Lufthansa, Swiss

It’s a new year, and that means Lufthansa will probably acquire another 15 airlines before the year is out. If I were a betting man, I would expect to hear SAS and Virgin Atlantic involved in those discussions, but I wouldn’t expect Alitalia. It sounds like Air France/KLM may have won that battle.

Of course, this all remains to be seen. What we do know is that Lufthansa already owns a bunch of airlines, and I’d guess you probably don’t know them all. (I didn’t.)

Here is my compilation of all the airlines that are currently at least partially owned by Lufthansa. I’ve included main country of operation and Lufthansa’s percentage ownership in the graphic. Let me know if I’ve missed anything.

Lufthansa Ownership

[Edited image 1/5 @ 516p to reflect additional airline ownership stakes]
[Edited image again on 1/6 @ 627p to reflect even more ownership stakes]

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26 comments on “Lufthansa’s Growing Web of Airline Ownership

  1. Love the blog, thanks!

    bmi should probably be listed as 30->80%, since Michael Bishop has exercised his put option on his half stake in the company.

  2. Well, it’s always funny to read how everyone mentions us when it comes to possible take-overs in the European airline industry. :-P

    BTW, nice chart you have there, just another correction in addition to the one Chris has already mentioned: LH still holds 24.9% of Condor.

  3. Thanks for all the additions and corrections. An updated picture has now been posted to reflect everything mentioned.

  4. LOT in Poland have been talking publicly about a corporate transaction with a major European airline (LOT are in trouble – it’s partly why they had to close their LCC Centralwings). LOT currently use LH’s FF scheme…. don’t be too surprised if the Germans march into Poland in the next 18 months

    Only question is when the EU says that enough is enough. I’m guessing that because LH probably has very good relations with the German Govt, there will be pressure somewhere to let the deals go through…

  5. First blog of 2009 and you’re already mentioning Alitalia. I think someone needs to join A.A. (Alitalia Anonymous)……lol


  6. I really hope Luftie doesn’t subsume bmi into its corporate insignia and so on. It stands well on its own as a brand, but presumably could benefit from back office merging. I know the administration of its frequent flyer programme could do with a kick up the regionals….

  7. So from my count Lufthansa has five airlines they own 100% of, or almost 100% of Eurowings, Germanwings, Swiss, Brussels Airlines, AirJolomil, tyrolean.

    So the question is are they going to continue with this multibrand/multicertificate operation, or do you think they’ll get rolled up in some way.

    I could see more “sub” Lufthansa brands (al la. Cityline and Italia) or perhaps merging the certificates to provide flexibility but keeping the brand? (I know it might be weird to show up and board an airplane in a different livery, but most people would be happy to get to their destination…)

    Cranky, what do you forsee in Lufthansa’s branding strategy?

  8. Don’t be surprised if they pick up Croatia Airlines as well (it’s already pretty well integrated into the Lufthansa system), if only to cherrypick the tourist routes.

  9. Following up on C’s comment, Aegean (A3) may also be another target. Although I don’t think it’s as tightly integrated as Croatia. But a small equity stake wouldn’t be hard.

  10. Nicholas – It seems to me that Lufthansa will primarily keep the brands of the acquisitions, mostly because it would anger the local governments of each country if they changed it. Also, there can be some benefit to keeping a name like Austrian that’s been around for a long time. Something like Brussels, well, that’s pretty new, so I’m not sure.

    BTW, I updated the image again to reflect bmiBaby and other wholly owned subsidiaries. I also had to add the 49% stake in airDC that Brussels owns as well as the 22.5% stake in Ukraine Intl that Austrian owns!

    (Thanks to CH Aviation for some help here.)

  11. @Enduring Wanderlust please grow up!

    @Ari We’re talking about Lufthansa German Airlines here, LH Cargo with its own subsidiaries is a different business unit.

  12. Lufthansa prepares against the competition of Multi American as well as the agressiven Arab airlines such as Emirates. The Arabs do not need the high kerosene-praise to be afraid, them possess to Oil-pour. the Germans want to develop a Multi Hub System in Europe, in Addition the assumption of other Airlines belongs. All of it will profit: Improves utilization of stretching and improves purchase conditions…

  13. Lufthansa also (indirectly) owns Thomas Cook Airlines through condor.
    Also don’t forget lufthansa regional and lufthanda cityline which until recently were not owned by lufthansa (the regional and cityline simply used the name lufthansa and added to it.

    Thomas Cook, lufthansa regional, and lufthansa cityline are all German airlines.

  14. rob – It wasn’t entirely clear to me how much if any Lufthansa still owns of Thomas Cook. Talk about a confusing company structure. I think I’ll just leave Condor on there for now and use that as a representative for all Thomas Cook airlines if they are in fact connected to the others.

    I did add Cityline on there in my last revision. It’s my understanding that Lufthansa Regional isn’t actually an airline but rather a banner used for several of the regional carriers that fly for Lufthansa. No?

  15. More a question than a comment…..

    What happened to Lloyd Aero Boliviano, Hapag Lloyd and Aero Lloyd? Didn’t they all (at least while they were operating) have German ownership connections somewhere along the line? Not necessarily Lufthy but someone somewhere in Germany?

  16. Optimist – Yep, they were all German-related at some point. LAB went under a couple times recently. It seems like they keep trying to operate a flight every so often, and they even had an accident in the last couple years after I thought they had already shut down. But they’re basically done. Aero Lloyd also went under. Hapag Lloyd still exists, sort of. They had a couple of different airlines including HLX (with the taxi livery) and they’ve all now been merged under the TUI umbrella as TUIfly.

  17. CF- My apologies on Lufthansa Regional. You were correct, it is a banner for Air Dolomiti, Augsburg Airways, CityLine, Contact Air and Eurowings. They all somehow formed an alliance and use Lufthansa Regional as the name

  18. Due to the big sums in the mergers of the last decade, LH always had to stand back as it did not believe such sums were worth the possible profit (e.g. see Alitalia). Hence the strategy to acquire smaller airlines partly or completely and use a multi-brand strategy, which is of course due to the national feelings (imagine SWISS would have been rebranded to LH-Switzerland – the Swiss would have gone crazy, actually they debated long, it they can live with the big German LH at all).

    LH is still profitable (made profits in 2008) in contrast to most of its competitors who grew by merging and acquiring big airlines, so at least at the moment, the strategy seems to work well.

    But it is to be seen, if they can compete with Emirates and the other MiddleEast airlines, once the A380 roles outr big time, the fuel prices go up and the future of long haul US-Asia connections is decided…I think that is their biggest threat in the future…

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