Lufthansa cuts Berlin fleet as it shifts emphasis at capital

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Lufthansa is reducing its short-haul fleet in Berlin as it shifts focus from business to leisure travellers at the German capital.

The carrier group has 15 Airbus A320-family aircraft stationed in Berlin, covering both the mainline and Germanwings operations. But from 31 March this fleet is to be cut to 13 narrowbodies for the summer schedule as routes are dropped.

The affected routes are from Berlin to Budapest, Lyon, Manchester and - from May - Marrakesh.

It says that these destinations, primarily targeted at business travellers, were not as lucrative as expected, because Berlin's passenger market remains largely based on leisure customers.

The airline group will however introduce new "warm water" routes from the capital to Antalya, Faro, Ibiza and Menorca in its summer schedule.

Germanwings meanwhile will station three aircraft in Hamburg from April as it gradually takes over all of Lufthansa's European short-haul routes outside the mainline carrier's Frankfurt and Munich hubs.

However, the low-cost carrier says this number will increase as more routes are transferred to it.

Initially, it will take over Lufthansa's routes to Dubrovnik, Nice, Nuremberg, Palma de Mallorca, Stuttgart and Vienna.

But the budget airline will later add Barcelona, Corfu, Catania, Kos, Olbia, Istanbul, Split and Venice as new destinations.

At present, Germanwings only serves Pristina from the north German airport, which will remain part of the summer schedule.