Lufthansa group will boost services from Dublin and add routes from Cork and Shannon as it expands its Irish operations next summer. The German airline intends to almost double its Dublin-Munich flights to 13 a week from once a day for the summer season, beginning in late March.
Andreas Koster, sales director for Ireland, the UK and Iceland, said that Tuesday would be the only day of the week on which there would not be two flights a day between the Republic's capital and Munich. "We started in 2008 with three flights a week and we are now more than quadrupling that to 13," Mr Koster added, noting that the number of people flying on the route grew 10 per cent in the last year.
Along with that, Lufthansa subsidiary Swiss plans to fly once a week from Cork to Zurich next summer in what will be a new service.
Lufthansa itself says it will launch a weekly service from Shannon to Frankfurt. Spokesman Boris Ogursky confirmed that Lufthansa group was continuing talks with its pilots, whose recent strike grounded 4,400 flights and half a million passengers. The group is offering them 4.4 per cent wage increase and a once-off payment tied to their salary in an effort to end the dispute.
The German airline flies to both Frankfurt and Munich from Dublin. Mr Koster said about 80 per cent of its passengers were visiting the Republic from elsewhere, including eastern Europe and China. Lufthansa's hubs offer connections to eastern Europe and Asia. The top destinations from Ireland in 2016 were Belgrade, Moscow and Sofia in Europe and Beijing, Shanghai and Tokyo in Asia.
Swiss flies to Geneva and Zurich, while Lufthansa's low-cost offshoot, Eurowings, serves Cologne and Dusseldorf from Dublin.
The group also employs 785 people in two maintenance facilities. The biggest, Lufthansa Technik Shannon, employs 600 people in servicing and overhauling Boeing and Airbus aircraft for about 50 airlines.
The second, Lufthansa Technik Turbine Shannon, specialises in repairing components for turbines used in jet aircraft engines, and employs about 185 people.
The group also has an airline customer service operation in Dublin that employs about 200 people.
Lufthansa recently invested in upgrading facilities in Munich, its second-biggest hub, and will base its new Airbus A350s at the airport once they begin arriving next year. Mr Koster added that the airline had seen little or no negative fallout from the UK’s vote to leave the EU.
Neither he nor Mr Ogursky would comment on Irish low-cost giant Ryanair’s ambitions to increase its share of the German market.