Lufthansa Sets Up Temporary Dubai Mini-Hub

Lufthansa Sets Up Temporary Dubai Mini-Hub

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Lufthansa will be sending quite a few planes through Dubai in the coming weeks…

All Lufthansa flights to India will route through Dubai

Airline logistics are complicated nowadays. For the time being, all Lufthansa flights to & from India are being routed through Dubai Airport. As of now this shows as being scheduled through the end of May, though presumably this could be extended beyond that.

For some context on Lufthansa’s current service to India, the airline is flying to three destinations, all using Boeing 747-8 aircraft:

  • Lufthansa flies 3x weekly between Frankfurt and Bangalore
  • Lufthansa flies 4x weekly between Frankfurt and Delhi
  • Lufthansa flies 3x weekly between Frankfurt and Mumbai

For the time being, each of these flights will stop in Dubai in both directions.

How Lufthansa flights to India will be routed

To give a sense of what this service looks like, let’s use the Mumbai flight as an example, which is scheduled as follows:

LH756 Frankfurt to Dubai departing 11:35AM arriving 7:50PM [6hr15min]
LH756 Dubai to Mumbai departing 8:35PM arriving 12:55AM (+1 day) [2hr50min]
LH757 Mumbai to Dubai departing 2:45AM arriving 4:20AM [3hr5min]
LH757 Dubai to Frankfurt departing 5:30AM arriving 10:05AM [6hr35min]

For context, here’s what the schedule for this flight usually looks like without a Dubai stop:

LH756 Frankfurt to Mumbai departing 1:05PM arriving 1:05AM [8hr30min]
LH757 Mumbai to Dubai departing 2:45AM arriving 8:25AM [9hr10min]

As you can see, this Dubai detour adds a considerable amount of time to the journey between Germany and India.

Lufthansa will fly quite a few Boeing 747-8s through Dubai

Why is Lufthansa doing this?

This new Dubai stop is purely about crew safety, as passengers won’t have the option of getting off the plane in Dubai. Because of how bad coronavirus is in India at the moment, this stop is intended to allow crews to simply have two layovers in Dubai, rather than laying over in India.

The way crews will be rostered:

  • They’ll fly from Frankfurt to Dubai, and will have a layover in Dubai
  • Next they’ll fly from Dubai to India to Dubai, and will have a layover in Dubai
  • Lastly they’ll fly from Dubai to Frankfurt

Lufthansa isn’t the first airline to do something like this. Earlier this year Air New Zealand added a stop in Honolulu on its flights to the USA, for crew safety. Since case numbers were lower in Hawaii than California at the time, flights stopped in Honolulu for a crew change.

Crews would fly from Auckland to Honolulu, have a layover, fly from Honolulu to California to Honolulu in the same day, have a layover, and then fly from Honolulu to Auckland.

Air New Zealand did something similar for USA flights a while back

Bottom line

For the time being Lufthansa is routing all of its flights to India through Dubai. This is for crew safety, to allow crews to have layovers in Dubai rather than India. Crews will now operate flights from Frankfurt to Dubai, then from Dubai to India to Dubai, and then from Dubai back to Frankfurt.

There’s no way to book these flights purely between Frankfurt and Dubai, or between Dubai and India. Rather the only people getting off the plane in Dubai will be the crew.

So if you fly through Dubai anytime soon and are surprised to see Boeing 747-8s, now you know why they’re there…

(Tip of the hat to Frankfurt Flyer)

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  1. YULtide

    Serious question: the stop in DXB adds extra miles, e.g. FRA-DXB-DEL is over 500 miles farther than direct. Would a passenger get the extra miles credited to a FF account on one of these flights?

  2. Klaus

    in case you are wondering why Lufthansa does not upgrade all passengers to their premium classes in order to use their economy class for additional cargo: Accordig to EASA "a mix of passengers and cargo in the passenger cabin should not be considered" due to safety concerns. In addition, there are also weight restrictions.

  3. Klaus

    @Jared:
    Correct, there are passengers aboard these planes. But the choice of aircraft type to LAX or India is not based on passenger demand but rather on Cargo demand. Money is made with cargo - and cargo does care less about the additional 4 hours of travel time. The cooled storage containers can handle longer trips. The earlier LAT (latest acceptance time) may be a disadvantage.
    Passengers are by-catch on these flights.

    @Emily:

    @Jared:
    Correct, there are passengers aboard these planes. But the choice of aircraft type to LAX or India is not based on passenger demand but rather on Cargo demand. Money is made with cargo - and cargo does care less about the additional 4 hours of travel time. The cooled storage containers can handle longer trips. The earlier LAT (latest acceptance time) may be a disadvantage.
    Passengers are by-catch on these flights.

    @Emily:
    Medication is not only distributed to Europa, but also to the US. Lufthansa has a dedicated hub in Chicago.
    Before opening the the Pfizer poduction facility in Kalamazoo, the Biontech vaccine was shipped from Puurs in Belgium to the U.S. back in November 2020. While it’s often called Pfizer vaccine in the U.S., it was actually developed by German company BioNTech. Pfizer supports with clinical trials, logistics, and manufacturing in most countries while in China BioNTech partnered with Fosun.

  4. Felix

    @Dave and @ Klaus
    Thanks for your insights. I was not aware that this service was introduced back in April 2020.

  5. Jared

    Rather I should say misinformed since these flights are carrying passengers. All else regarding the transport of goods in previous comments are correct. The cargo flying from India to Germany include medical supplies, manufacturing raw materials, agricultural products, food, and finished auto components. Lufthansa Cargo has a major business between the two countries. However, to prevent redundant flights due to low occupancy, the cargo flights operated by LH Cargo have been replaced by these flights....

    Rather I should say misinformed since these flights are carrying passengers. All else regarding the transport of goods in previous comments are correct. The cargo flying from India to Germany include medical supplies, manufacturing raw materials, agricultural products, food, and finished auto components. Lufthansa Cargo has a major business between the two countries. However, to prevent redundant flights due to low occupancy, the cargo flights operated by LH Cargo have been replaced by these flights. Ten flights a week is actually a low number. Under normal conditions, Lufthansa has 12 flights a week just from Delhi, served by the A380 and the A350 now (the A350 replaced the 747-8 recently).

  6. Jared

    Most of the comments above are false. Lufthansa 748s are a common sight across India. These flights are carrying paid passengers in addition to the vital cargo and aid between both countries. The travel restrictions to Germany from the subcontinent are in place with the following exceptions:

    German nationals and their accompanying close family members (spouse and children) are exempt from the travel ban.

    People with a German residence permit can also enter Germany. But...

    Most of the comments above are false. Lufthansa 748s are a common sight across India. These flights are carrying paid passengers in addition to the vital cargo and aid between both countries. The travel restrictions to Germany from the subcontinent are in place with the following exceptions:

    German nationals and their accompanying close family members (spouse and children) are exempt from the travel ban.

    People with a German residence permit can also enter Germany. But holders of German short and long term visas are not allowed entry at this time. Any Indian traveller who enters Germany, regardless of the length of stay, is normally required to have a visa first.

    Only students who have both a student visa and a residence permit will be allowed to enter the country.

    Members of foreign diplomatic missions and consular offices and accompanying family members can also enter the country, provided their arrival to Germany has been notified by the German Federal Foreign Office.

    Transit passengers with a valid visa and eligible for entry at their final destination.

  7. Andy

    I think also their decision to keep operations to/from India is due to cargo. That also explains the use of 74H.

  8. Klaus

    The reason for flying to Shenyang is Cargo related: the BBA production plants are in Tiexi and Dadong.
    The de-consolidation center is in Shenyang, the consolidation center closer to Frankfurt than to Munich.

  9. Emily

    This is not a hub - it’s a technical stop for crew rest. Lufthansa flights are stemming the gap for healthcare supplies to and fro India. Medication and vaccines are being transported to Europe on these routes. From Germany, they are distributed to various other European countries.

  10. Jay

    @Dave Thanks for the info - LH’s choice of Shenyang as alternative to Peking seems rather odd given distance between Shenyang and Peking. It’s regional hub but not anything close to a global/national hub either.

  11. JK

    Surely all LH Crew are vaccinated by this time. And this seems like a fairly high cost solution for thier safety. We should all get the vaccine because it is effective correct?

  12. Dave

    Replying to Felix:

    China does t allow long haul international flights to arrive in Beijing anymore. This is done to prevent a hotel quarantine leak in the capital. This has been in place since April 2020. LH is only allowed to operate 2 flights a week into China, one is to Shanghai which goes directly there, the other one to Beijing but lands in shenyang where all inbound pax needs to get off and quarantine....

    Replying to Felix:

    China does t allow long haul international flights to arrive in Beijing anymore. This is done to prevent a hotel quarantine leak in the capital. This has been in place since April 2020. LH is only allowed to operate 2 flights a week into China, one is to Shanghai which goes directly there, the other one to Beijing but lands in shenyang where all inbound pax needs to get off and quarantine. The plane is ferried to Beijing and then departs as a pax service to Frankfurt. This is required by the Chinese government and applies to air China as well so LH has no choice. Similarly Air France is flying to Tianjin rather than Beijing.

  13. Felix

    Hey Lucky, there is (at least) one more weird routing by Lufthansa.

    Until the end of October, LH720 flies every Tuesday of the week from Frankfurt to Shenyang. This can only be booked as a oneway. There are no return flights.

    Hence, I looked up if LH721 exists. Yes, to my surprise it operates every Friday of the week from Bejing to Frankfurt. So the plane must fly empty from Shenyang to Bejing and sits...

    Hey Lucky, there is (at least) one more weird routing by Lufthansa.

    Until the end of October, LH720 flies every Tuesday of the week from Frankfurt to Shenyang. This can only be booked as a oneway. There are no return flights.

    Hence, I looked up if LH721 exists. Yes, to my surprise it operates every Friday of the week from Bejing to Frankfurt. So the plane must fly empty from Shenyang to Bejing and sits 3 nights on the ground? What the hell is going on here?

    How bad must be the economics. At least those oneways are heavily priced. Around 2.500 Euro in Economy. I intended to book this oneway for my friend over Miles&More, but the program does not even list these flights. That's a difference from displaying no availabilty.

    Do you have some further insights?

  14. Janos

    Ben, the title of this article is misleading. I would not call Dubai a mini-hub, just because there is a technical stop here for chaning the crew...

  15. Not Lucky

    So what you're saying is we can get an extra 90 minutes in LH F for the same amount of miles as previously...

  16. Klaus

    Several sources (sz.de, airliners.de) are confirming that these flights are operated mainly for cargo.
    Apparently, India is considered the worlds pharmacy and produces antibiotics,
    Progesterones...

    Lufthansa does have a special Pharma hub for cooled transports in india just like the one they opened in Chicago. There is a Lufthansa cargo press release about the temperatured connections from India via Frankfurt to Chicago.

    They even have a Senior Manager Global Key Accounts Temperature Control...

    Several sources (sz.de, airliners.de) are confirming that these flights are operated mainly for cargo.
    Apparently, India is considered the worlds pharmacy and produces antibiotics,
    Progesterones...

    Lufthansa does have a special Pharma hub for cooled transports in india just like the one they opened in Chicago. There is a Lufthansa cargo press release about the temperatured connections from India via Frankfurt to Chicago.

    They even have a Senior Manager Global Key Accounts Temperature Control in India

  17. Klaus

    @Tom:
    LAX is served by FRA and MUC. I did two round trips recently = 4 flights.
    Occupancy was <20%.

    Those flights are not operated for passengers but for cargo.

    Why India?
    More cargo, higher cargo rates: e.g. electronic parts (wire harnesses), sub components for vaccines, other medications.

    That explains the frequency.

  18. Joe

    Why Lufthansa keep flying to/from India? 10 flights a week? So crazy. Stop in Dubai makes any difference, because the crew will be in touch with passengers coming from 3 covid big spots (Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore).

  19. Tom

    Why service these routes with 747-8 when the US is in much better shape and restrictions on travel aren't any worse than in India but actually better? Meanwhile LAX gets the A350?? Something here seems amiss.

  20. Sir Walter Raleigh

    Eurostan won't stop these flights out of political correctness. Good god, why do you need such frequent service from a COVID hot spot?

Featured Comments Load all 20 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

YULtide

Serious question: the stop in DXB adds extra miles, e.g. FRA-DXB-DEL is over 500 miles farther than direct. Would a passenger get the extra miles credited to a FF account on one of these flights?

Klaus

in case you are wondering why Lufthansa does not upgrade all passengers to their premium classes in order to use their economy class for additional cargo: Accordig to EASA "a mix of passengers and cargo in the passenger cabin should not be considered" due to safety concerns. In addition, there are also weight restrictions.

Klaus

@Jared: Correct, there are passengers aboard these planes. But the choice of aircraft type to LAX or India is not based on passenger demand but rather on Cargo demand. Money is made with cargo - and cargo does care less about the additional 4 hours of travel time. The cooled storage containers can handle longer trips. The earlier LAT (latest acceptance time) may be a disadvantage. Passengers are by-catch on these flights. @Emily: Medication is not only distributed to Europa, but also to the US. Lufthansa has a dedicated hub in Chicago. Before opening the the Pfizer poduction facility in Kalamazoo, the Biontech vaccine was shipped from Puurs in Belgium to the U.S. back in November 2020. While it’s often called Pfizer vaccine in the U.S., it was actually developed by German company BioNTech. Pfizer supports with clinical trials, logistics, and manufacturing in most countries while in China BioNTech partnered with Fosun.

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