History: Lufthansa traces its history to 1926 when Deutsche Luft Hansa A.G. (styled as Deutsche Lufthansa from 1933 onwards) was formed in Berlin. DLH, as it was known for short, was Germany's flag carrier until 1945 when all services were suspended following the defeat of Nazi Germany. In an effort to create a new national airline, a company called Aktiengesellschaft für Luftverkehrsbedarf (Luftag), was founded in Cologne on 6 January 1953, with many of its staff having worked for the pre-war Lufthansa. On 6 August 1954, Luftag acquired the name and logo of the liquidated Deutsche Lufthansa for DM 30,000 (equivalent to € 68000 today), thus continuing the tradition of a German flag carrier of that name.
On 1 April 1955 Lufthansa won approval to start scheduled domestic flights, linking Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Cologne, and Munich. International flights started on 15 May 1955, to London, Paris, and Madrid,followed by Super Constellation flights to New York City from 1 June of that year.
The special status of Berlin meant that Lufthansa was not allowed to fly to either part of Berlin until 1989. Originally thought to be only a temporary matter, the Division of Germany turned out to be long, which gradually led to Frankfurt Airport becoming Lufthansa's primary hub.
In 1958 Lufthansa ordered four Boeing 707s and started jet flights from Frankfurt to New York City in March 1960. Boeing 720Bs were later bought to back up the 707 fleet. In February 1961 Far East routes were extended beyond Bangkok, Thailand, to Hong Kong and Tokyo. Lagos, Nigeria and Johannesburg, South Africa were added in 1962.
Lufthansa introduced the Boeing 727 in 1964 and that May began the Polar route from Frankfurt to Tokyo via Anchorage. In February 1965 the company ordered twenty-one Boeing 737s that went into service in 1968. Lufthansa was the first customer for the Boeing 737 and was one of four buyers of the 737-100s. Lufthansa was the first foreign launch customer for a Boeing airliner.
The wide-body era for Lufthansa started with a Boeing 747 flight on April 26, 1970. It was followed by the introduction of the DC-10-30 on November 12, 1973, and the first Airbus A300 in 1976. In 1979 Lufthansa and Swissair were launch customers for the Airbus A310 with an order for twenty-five aircraft.
The company's fleet modernisation programme for the 1990s began on June 29, 1985 with an order for fifteen Airbus A320s and seven Airbus A300-600s. Ten Boeing 737-300s were ordered a few days later. All were delivered between 1987 and 1992. Lufthansa also bought Airbus A321, Airbus A340, and Boeing 747-400 aircraft.
In 1987 Lufthansa, together with Air France, Iberia, and Scandinavian Airlines, founded Amadeus, an IT company (also known as a GDS) that would enable travel agencies to sell the founders and other airlines' products from a single system.
On October 28, 1990, 25 days after reunification, Berlin became a Lufthansa destination again. On May 18, 1997, Lufthansa, Air Canada, Scandinavian Airlines, Thai Airways International, and United Airlines formed Star Alliance, the world's first multilateral airline alliance.
In 2000. Lufthansa has a good track record for posting profits, even in 2001, after 9/11, the airline suffered a significant loss in profits but still managed to stay 'in the black'. While many other airlines announced layoffs (typically 20% of their workforce), Lufthansa retained its current workforce.
On December 6, 2001, Lufthansa announced an order for 15 Airbus A380 superjumbos with 10 more options. The A380 fleet will be used for long-haul flights from Frankfurt exclusively.In June 2003, Lufthansa opened Terminal 2 at Munich's Franz Josef Strauß Airport to relieve its main hub, Frankfurt, which was suffering from capacity constraints. It is one of the first terminals in Europe partially owned by an airline.
On May 17, 2004, Lufthansa became the launch customer for the Connexion by Boeing in-flight online connectivity service. On March 22, 2005, Swiss International Air Lines was purchased by Lufthansa's holding company. The two companies will continue to be run separately.
On December 6, 2006, Lufthansa placed an order for 20 Boeing 747-8s, becoming the launch customer of the passenger model.The first A380 was delivered on May 19, 2010, while the first 747-8 entered service in 2012.
On September 15, 2008, Lufthansa Group announced its purchase of a stake in Brussels Airlines. In June 2009 the EU Commission granted regulatory approval for this strategic partnership between Brussels Airlines and Lufthansa. The decision paved the way for Lufthansa to acquire an initial 45% stake in SN Airholding SA/NV, the parent company of Brussels Airlines. Lufthansa then purchased the remaining 55% of Brussels Airlines in 2017.
In September 2009, Lufthansa purchased Austrian Airlines with the approval of the European Commission. But at the turn of the new decade, after a loss of 381 million euros in the first quarter of 2010 and another 13 million loss in the year 2011 due to the economic recession and restructuring costs, Deutsche Lufthansa AG cut 3,500 administrative positions or around 20 percent of the clerical total of 16,800. In 2012 Lufthansa announced a restructuring program called SCORE to improve its operating profit. As a part of the restructuring plan the company started to transfer all short-haul flights outside its hubs in Frankfurt, Munich and Düsseldorf to the company’s re-branded low-cost carrier Germanwings.
In November 2014, Lufthansa signed an outsourcing deal worth $1.25 billion with IBM that will see the US company take over the airline’s IT infrastructure services division and staff.
In June 2015, Lufthansa announced it would like to close its small long-haul base at Düsseldorf Airport for economic reasons.
On 22 March 2016, Lufthansa ended operations of their Boeing 737-500 fleet as the last aircraft was transferred to its new owner. On 29 October 2016, Lufthansa retired their last Boeing 737 overall, a 737-300, after a flight from Milan to Frankfurt.