Air Transport World

'Leaner, meaner' Lufthansa. (Deutsche Lufthansa is being restructured by new Executive Board Chairman Jurgen Weber) (Airlines) (Company Profile)

FRANKFURT-A "leaner, meaner" restructured Lufthansa is emerging under the leadership of new Executive Board Chairman Jurgen Weber. A higher-quality product, more innovative management and global alliances are being pegged as corner stones for the '90s by the German carrier's executives.

Weber (pronounced VAY-ber) is spearheading a major, organizational and strategic overhaul, starting with consolidation of the passenger sales and marketing departments, a peeling away administratively of cargo from passenger operations into an independent division, and a planned program of pay incentives to boost productivity of sales staff and make Lufthansa increasingly customer-oriented.

"Lufthansa's greatest potential," says Weber, "lies in its highly qualified, highly motivated staff ... a potential that has not been employed to full advantage in the past but which we can and will mobilize."

At the same time, Weber admits that one of Lufthansa's greatest weaknesses is that corporate thinking has become too functional. We have always sought to optimize operational procedures, to find ideal ways of working internally. As a result, we have let down our customers at times. I want to change that. Our product has to be shaped by customer demand."

Although Lufthansa made a pretax profit of 172 million marks ($105 million) in the third quarter of 1991, it projected a substantial operating loss over the full year, stemming from the weak first quarter, staggered-as were most other airlines by the impact of the Guff War. In the year's first half, Lufthansa posted a pretax loss of 331 million marks ($198 million) compared with a deficit of only 3 million marks, a year earlier.

The number of flights carried out during the third-quarter jumped by 23% to 258,200 but the seat load factor of 62% was down four points from the year-ago period. Still, Lufthansa eclipsed British Airways in October to become the No. 1 carrier on intra-european routes in terms of passengers.

The winter timetable of the 51. …

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