MIAMI – Today in Aviation, Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP) based Lufthansa Italia (LH) was shut down by its parent in 2011. The new subsidiary had been unveiled by Lufthansa in November 2008.
Lufthansa had originally planned to increase its market presence in Northern Italy by expanding its Air Dolomiti (EN) subsidiary. EN would base six of its Embraer E195s at MXP and open a swathe of new routes.
However, it was eventually decided that a whole new airline, LH’s first outside of Germany, would be established. A number of Airbus A319s were sourced from the mainline fleet and its Germanwings (4U) subsidiary.
Operations commenced on February 2, 2009 with flights to Barcelona (BCN) and Paris (CDG). Routes to Brussels (BRU), Budapest (BUD), Bucharest (OTP), London Heathrow (LHR), Lisbon (LIS) and Madrid (MAD) quickly followed. The airline would go on to serve a total of 21 routes. A year after commencing operations, the airline had carried 800,000 passengers.
An Italian Experience
In an attempt to differentiate itself from its German parent, the airline offered a number of Italian touches onboard. This included Italian speaking Flight Attendant’s who offered locally-sourced Italian food and drink.
Despite these efforts passenger numbers failed to meet expectations. Increased competition from easyJet (U2), who competed with LH on 17 of its 21 routes, also impacted the airlines performance.
Therefore it was announced in May 2011 that the airline would be folded back in to its parent in October that year.
Featured image: Lufthansa