When Lufthansa commenced operations from Frankfurt to Johannesburg on 14 May 1962, it was through a series of intermediary stops in Africa using the Boeing 720B, the industry’s best long-haul aircraft at the time. We are proud to have played a major role in connecting South Africans over the past 55 years, whether for business or leisure, to our ever-expanding worldwide network.
This milestone is an important time for us to reflect on where we have been and where we are going. The South African service offered two weekly flights between Johannesburg and Frankfurt, with four connections via Salisbury (Harare), Nairobi, Khartoum and Athens, which took 16 hours to complete. In comparison to 1962, there are now five additional flights per week between Frankfurt and Johannesburg, carrying almost 300 more people per flight, and which is now five hours 35 minutes faster. Additionally, travellers are now also spoilt for choice with our direct flights from both our Frankfurt and Munich hubs into Cape Town.
We are proud to bring international best practice to the travel industry, through the introduction of new booking channels and processes to ensure our partners and customers benefit from the changes within the global travel industry. The era of digitalisation and personalisation within the travel sector is upon us. Travellers are and will continue to expect a greater degree of personalisation when it comes to their travel experience, and Lufthansa’s digitalisation strategy is one way by which we will continually meet and exceed our travellers’ expectations. The next 55 years for the Lufthansa Group’s South Africa service will no doubt see further investment and innovation.
As we celebrate 55 years of flying to South Africa, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your ongoing support and commitment, which has been invaluable to us over the years.
Dr. André Schulz
General Manager Southern Africa
THE LUFTHANSA SOUTH AFRICA ROUTE HISTORY IN BRIEF:
On 14th May 1962, Lufthansa introduced its first flight between Frankfurt and Johannesburg operating a Boeing 720B.
From January 1966, the Boeing 707-330B was used on long-range flights over Africa.
By February 1972, Lufthansa introduced its Boeing 747-100 to Johannesburg with 28 First Class seats and 333 Economy Class seats. This aircraft was later replaced in 1978 with the Boeing 747-200.
February 1982 saw the introduction of Business Class.
In July 1989 the elite Boeing 747-400 was introduced on the Johannesburg route. At that time, Lufthansa was the first airline flying the 747-400 to South Africa.
In October 1992, Lufthansa introduced daily flights between South Africa and Germany.
By October 1994, the South African route was further enhanced by adding Cape Town to Lufthansa’s network.
In December 2001, seasonal flights between Munich and Johannesburg were introduced, operated by an Airbus A340-300. This added an additional six flights per week between South Africa and Germany.
On 6 December 2006, Lufthansa placed an order for 20 Boeing 747-8 aircraft – thus becoming the launch customer of the longest passenger aircraft in the world.
For the FIFA World Cup in 2010, the German national football team flew to South Africa on Lufthansa’s newly delivered flagship Airbus A380 aircraft.
In the same year, Lufthansa became the second international airline to offer scheduled flights with the A380 to South Africa.
In June 2011, Lufthansa named its newest Airbus A380 “Johannesburg”. This became the first Lufthansa aircraft to carry the name of an African city.
By October 2015, the Boeing 747-8, dubbed “Queen of the skies”, was introduced on the South African route.
On 14 May 2017, Lufthansa celebrates 55 years of successful flight operations between Germany and South Africa.