Lufthansa (LH, Frankfurt Int'l) has announced plans to accelerate its growth of its second hub in Munich as part of its hub optimization strategy. The German carrier intends to grow its capacity at the Bavarian gateway by adding more flights to Asia including a new daily service linking Munich with Bangkok Suvarnabhumi starting from March 2019.

Lufthansa will also move its daily Frankfurt-Osaka Kansai route to Munich starting next summer with plans to potentially move more than the five A380-800s from their current base at Frankfurt to Munich from 2020. It is also planning to move three A320-200s to Bavaria with three Lufthansa CityLine (CL, Munich) CRJ-900s in return relocated from Munich to Frankfurt.

In addition, Lufthansa plans to move a larger proportion of its A340-600 fleet to Munich to be able to offer a First Class product on more markets from there. It currently uses the A340-600s from Munich to México City Int'l, New York JFK, San Francisco, CA, and Shanghai Pudong, according to the ch-aviation schedules module.

Frankfurt will also get a new long-haul route to Austin Bergstrom Int'l next summer. However, Handelsblatt has reported that Lufthansa Group chief executive Carsten Spohr was demanding in the last meeting of the coordination committee of Frankfurt airport that the hourly number of aircraft movements should be reduced from 104 to 102 in order to reduce flight delays. Similar slot reductions were also proposed for Berlin Tegel, Düsseldorf Int'l, and Munich. Sister carrier Swiss (LX, Zurich) is also fighting a proposed increase of morning departure slots at Zurich, also fearing that it would lead to more delays.

Ever since Fraport has encouraged low-cost carriers including Ryanair (FR, Dublin Int'l) and Wizz Air (W6, Budapest) to operate from/to Frankfurt, Lufthansa has regularly been publicly arguing with the airport operator and announcing various measures to move more traffic to its Munich hub. The carrier's mainline passenger unit alone, however, still provides 61.7% of all seat capacity from Germany's main gateway. It is nearly equally dominant in Munich where it controls 57.67% of all weekly seats offered, according to ch-aviation capacity data. At present, Lufthansa operates 3245 weekly flights out of Frankfurt and 2498 out of Munich.