As one of the oldest brands in the aviation industry, Lufthansa is proud to be celebrating 50 years of flying in style between Germany and South Africa. Take a world class journey down memory lane as we celebrate and highlight the milestones of the Lufthansa Africa experience.
The year is 1962; flying is still considered an event. The expectation is that you would be wearing nice clothing on the flight and anyone who dared stroll on an airplane in ragged jeans and a t-shirt, would risk disapproving stares from the other passengers.
Those of you who were there will remember it as the year of the tragic death of Marilyn Monroe, the year of war or the era of the hippie with peace signs and smoke in the air. Those of you who are not so fortunate to have been there during these years will have it in their internet search history.
But, those of you who are avid travellers or consider themselves to be travel aficionados will remember it as the year Lufthansa marked 1962 in its company history books as "Africa Year", with the first scheduled flight between Frankfurt and Lagos on 5 March.
The second route to the continent was from Frankfurt via Athens, Khartoum, Nairobi and Salisbury (today Harare) to Johannesburg on 14 May. Both the routes were operated with a Boeing 720B.
You might be thinking "Shoo what a trip just to get to Johannesburg", but that problem was to soon be solved by difficulties over traffic rights in East Africa. The South Africa route was recharted via Lagos to Johannesburg, the fastest connection between South Africa and Europe, in February 1963.
Although the Boeing 720B paved the way for success in Africa, the capacity of this (then) fast plane proved inadequate compared with the long-range Boeing 707-330B. In January 1966 this aircraft was used on long-range flights over Africa.
As flying became less of an event and more a convenient means of travel, in February of 1972 the first Boeing 747-100 arrived in Johannesburg. This was then replaced with the Boeing 747-200 model in 1978. In February of 1982, Business Class was introduced.
Staying true to its reputation of staying ahead of other fleets, Lufthansa introduced the elite Boeing 747-400 on the South Africa route in July of 1989. At that time, Lufthansa was the first and only airline flying the Boeing 747-400 on the South African route.
To those who know nothing about aircrafts and aviation this might seem a bit insignificant, but you should know that all these aircraft "upgrades" meant that you could get a seat when you booked a flight because all these aircrafts had more seating room. Aha, seems a bit more interesting now does it not?
While you are probably thinking…The Spice Girls, Mandela's release from prison and other things that caught your fancy, the 90s were the age of strengthening and building alliances to offer meaningful benefits to the global traveller and the travel trade. On 15 December 1995 Lufthansa and South African Airways signed a co-operation agreement in Frankfurt to strengthen their competitive position in the international airline industry.
A global airline alliance
December 2001, a flight schedule between Johannesburg and Munich introduced the Lufthansa Airbus A340 to South Africa. In 2002, Lufthansa expanded its commitment to South Africa by confirming a double-daily frequency between South Africa and Germany.
Then came time for another merge, in September 2005, the South African Competition Commission issued Lufthansa and Swiss International Air Lines with a merger clearance certification starting the process of integration. By 2007 both airlines were “united” and fondly termed as “one kitchen with two restaurants”.
June 6 2010 the flight numbered LH 2010 flew the German national team along with 150 lucky fans on an Airbus A380 from Frankfurt to Johannesburg for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
In June 2011 Lufthansa once again broke its airplane naming conventions and named an Airbus A380 “Johannesburg’’.
“Our A380 bears the name of Johannesburg as a symbol of friendship between Germany and South Africa. It will travel the world as an ambassador for intercultural understanding, bridging continents and connecting people”, said Kay Kratky, Member of the Lufthansa German Airlines Board/ Frankfurt & Flight Operations.
Now in 2012, as we come to the end of our journey down memory lane, let all the customers of Lufthansa say congratulations to Lufthansa for its 50th year of operation in Africa. Maybe on our next journey down memory lane you will be upgraded to First Class.
To celebrate Lufthansa’s 50 years of flying, we’re giving away two tickets from Johannesburg to any of Lufthansa’s European destinations! To enter, simply answer the easy question below...