Exclusive: Lufthansa will NOT return to Liverpool in 2024

German airline Lufthansa suspended its Liverpool to Frankfurt global hub route in February and now tells LBN it will NOT return in 2024 – but did offer some hope for 2025. Tony McDonough reports

Lufthansa began operating out of Liverpool for the first time in 2022


Lufthansa’s suspended global hub route connecting Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA) with Frankfurt will not return in 2024, LBN has learned.

However, the German carrier has held out some hope that the service could return as part of its summer 2025 programme.

Lufthansa began operating from LJLA in May 2022 to great fanfare. Direct access to a global hub airport has long been on the airport’s wish list. KLM started a route to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport in 2009 but this was axed in 2012.

Initially Lufthansa offered two return flights four days a week. By December 2022 it was so pleased with the performance of the route it raised the frequency to six days a week.

But just before Christmas 2023 Lufthansa delivered an unexpected blow when it announced it was suspending the route from February 2024, along with another route to Frankfurt out of Bristol Airport.

Lufthansa insisted the reason for the decision was “unscheduled maintenance work” on a number of aircraft in its Airbus fleet. This meant, it added, it did not have enough planes to service all of its routes.

However, in a statement to the Business Traveller website, the carrier also said, more ominously, that it was suspending routes “that have not shown a positive economic development in recent months”.

When the route suspension was announced LJLA issued a statement insisting it was “performing well and steadily growing in line with forecasts”.

Since flights stopped in February neither Lufthansa nor LJLA have offered any public indication whether the route will return. However, in the last few days Lufthansa has told LBN: “Currently there are no plans to reinstate our connection to Liverpool.”

It added: “However, there is a continuous screening and evaluating of new or former destinations for the summer timetable 2025, as this is in progress and not finalised yet.”


Lufthansa, Liverpool Airport
First days of Lufthansa’s Liverpool operations in May 2022


This decision leaves Liverpool without a full hub link. Irish carrier Aer Lingus (via its Emerald Airlines subsidiary) and Icelandic airline PLAY both offer hub links to North America from LJLA via Dublin and Reykjavik respectively.

It still leaves LJLA searching for its Holy Grail – a sustainable hub link with the rest of the world. This is why the airport supports revived plans for a third runway at Heathrow believing it will open up slots for flights to regional airports.

Strong connections with the rest of the world are also crucial to newly-re-elected Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram’s pledge to deliver a 25% increase in foreign direct investment into Liverpool city region by 2030.

In a statement to LBN, LJLA’s aviation development director Paul Winfield said: “The Lufthansa service carried more than 40,000 passengers to and from Liverpool and operated with a strong occupancy rate in its last 12 months in excess of 70%.

“The route increased from four weekly departures to six in its second year, and was set to increase to a daily offering from April 2024.

“We are working to find a positive solution in delivering a hub service for Liverpool John Lennon Airport, which provides benefits throughout Liverpool city region.”

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