Lufthansa City Airlines (VL, Munich) will commence flight operations with A319-100s in the summer of 2024, with recruitment for cockpit and cabin crews beginning in November 2023, the airline group announced.

The Lufthansa Group subsidiary, which received its air operator certificate (AOC) in June, will operate from Munich and Frankfurt International, flying alongside Lufthansa CityLine (CL, Munich) in providing short-haul feeder flights to sister carrier Lufthansa (LH, Frankfurt International). The Group said the strategy was for City Airlines to strengthen the two hubs, expand the short-haul network, and support the growth of Lufthansa's long-haul operations. "The competitive strengthening of the short-haul network is essential for the market position of Lufthansa Group and for the planned growth of the long-haul segment in the German market," the holding said in a statement.

Operations will start with A319s (presumably from Lufthansa) while considering using other similar-sized aircraft, such as A220s or Embraers. The new airline took over a single A319-100, D-AILX (msn 860), from Lufthansa CityLine to fulfil its AOC requirements.

"With City Airlines, we want to create prospects for the coming decades and secure sustainable jobs in Germany. This is the only way for us to grow and sustainably strengthen the hubs in Munich and Frankfurt," commented City Airlines Managing Director Jens Fehlinger.

Lufthansa Group CEO Carsten Spohr previously disclosed the Group ultimately looks to equip City Airlines with 40 narrowbodies of 120 to 140-seater Embraer E-jets or A220s. He said a decision would probably be made during this IATA winter.

City Airlines is to accommodate pilots from former subsidiary germanwings (4U, Cologne/Bonn), which shuttered flight operations in 2021. An initially expected launch in mid-2023 was delayed by 18 months of labour talks with trade unions over a long-term collective bargaining agreement in the Group, to avoid previous disparate pilot incomes resulting from separate labour negotiations within the respective airlines in the Group. This resulted in the Lufthansa Group Collective Bargaining Commission, which centralises collective labour negotiations.