Lufthansa Group carried 142 million passengers in 2018—a record for the Germany-based company—despite thousands of canceled summer flights and delays.

With more than 1.2 million flights, load factor rose 0.4 points to 81.4% year-over-year (YOY), its highest ever.

Growth drivers for the network airlines—which includes Lufthansa, Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) and Austrian Airlines—were in Zurich (Switzerland), Munich (Germany) and Vienna (Austria). Each of these hubs reported a passenger growth of 9.5%, 9.3% and 8.5% YOY, respectively. The number of passengers at Lufthansa’s main Frankfurt hub grew 4.7% YOY in 2018.

Lufthansa’s three network airlines collectively carried around 104 million passengers last year, up 7.4% YOY.

ATW understands Lufthansa is focusing on future growth in Munich, Zurich and Vienna, while reducing capacity in Frankfurt for now.

Lufthansa Group CEO Carsten Spohr has criticized Frankfurt Airport operator Fraport in the past for high costs and what he perceives as poor quality. He said the airport is not investing enough into facilities and the many infrastructure constraints have led to a high number of delays. Until that changes, capacity expansion—particularly on long-haul routes—will not take place in Frankfurt, Spohr said at the annual shareholder meeting on May 8, 2018.

Kurt Hofmann, hofmann.aviation@netway.at