It can’t be easy running Lufthansa German Airlines.
On one hand, the carrier is being squeezed by discount European carriers, which can offer considerably lower fares for flights within the continent. On the other, Lufthansa is facing increased competition from worldwide, high-end airlines, like Etihad Airways and Emirates.
But Lufthansa officials say they’re up for the challenge. For one, they’re building up subsidiary Germanwings to compete with cheaper airlines like Air Berlin and Easyjet for shorter flights. For another, they’re investing in their on board product. That means new first and business class seats. But it also means Lufthansa is seeking to become a friendlier airline. The goal: to become the only European airline to receive a five star rating in all three classes from Skytrax. (Lufthansa now has five stars in first class, three and a half stars in business class and four stars in economy.)
I visited Lufthansa headquarters in Frankfurt recently, where I was introduced to Klaus Ammermann, senior manager for cabin crews. Klaus wasn’t expecting an interview, but he was kind enough to answer some of my questions. I have edited the interview for space and clarity.