The Lufthansa story began in 1926, when the airline was founded in Berlin. But this chapter was brought to a close in 1945 with the end of the Second World War. The new company, Lufthansa German Airlines, founded in Cologne, began scheduled operations in 1953. At that time the airline was wholly state-owned, however, in 1997 the company was fully privatized. Over the last 40 years, Lufthansa has developed into a globally active holding group with more than 200 subsidiaries. Former divisions became separate, wholly-owned business units within the Lufthansa Group such as Lufthansa Cargo AG, Lufthansa Technik GmbH, Lufthansa Service/ Sky Chefs (catering), Lufthansa CityLine and Condor GmbH (charter airline). Lufthansa German Airlines, the passenger airline, also became a separate division of the Group.
Lufthansa carries more passengers worldwide than any other European airlineserving over 300 cities in more than 90 countries around the world. In 1997, we carried over 33 million passengers. Our fleet, comprised of 215 aircraft (Group: 309) with an average age of six years, is one of the youngest and most environment-friendly in the world. In terms of passenger numbers, Lufthansa was second in the 1996 international rankings for scheduled air services, while Lufthansa Cargo was first among international freight carriers. Every 30 seconds, on average, an aircraft belonging to the Lufthansa Group takes off or lands somewhere in the world.
From the U.S.
Our service spans the globe. Lufthansa offers non-stop service from 12 U.S. and 2 Canadian gateways and direct flights from an additional 53 cities together with our partners Air Canada and United Airlines, to over 200 cities in more than 80 countries worldwide. Lufthansa offers the most comprehensive European network from our hubs in Frankfurt and Munich to over 100 cities.
Star Alliance network
Several of the world's leading airlines have joined together to form a partnership designed to make global travel simpler and more convenient for our passengers. The Star Alliance airlines are comprised of Lufthansa, Air Canada, Scandinavian Airlines System, Thai Airways International, United Airlines and Varig, and together we fly to over 600 destinations in 108 countries.
Other Lufthansa services
In addition to providing our passengers with the most enjoyable travel experience possible, we also provide other airlines with valuable services. Since 1956, the Lufthansa pilot school has trained over 4000 pilots, many from other airlines, while LSG Lufthansa Service/Sky Chefs is the world's largest airline catering service, preparing meals for over 250 airlines worldwide.
Yet another company of our group, Lufthansa Cargo, is the world's largest schedules air freight carrier. In 1997, we transported more than 1.7 million tons of freight and mail.
Lufthansa programs such as Miles & More, in which passenger earn triple miles in First Class and double miles in Business Class, and our popular Corporate Mileage Plan serve to further enhance our already sterling reputation with the world's business travelers. For four years running we have been voted "Best airline in Eastern Europe" by the Business Traveler International magazine readers' poll, and Air Transport World magazine has twice named Lufthansa "Airline of the Year".
With over 70 years industry experience, one of the youngest fleets in the air and with a resolute commitment to customer service, it's no wonder that Lufthansa is the airline of choice for discerning travelers everywhere.
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