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I found this picture earlier with a Lufthansa express livery:

737

It also appears to have been on a few larger aircraft like the A300: A300

Could somebody enlighten me as to what this operation was or the difference to mainline Lufthansa? I tried to search but couldn't find anything.

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I found this forum discussion from a few years ago, which stated:

LH Express was their brand name for domestic services for some years in the mid 90s. I'm not sure when the LH Express name disappeared, but they definitely were not promoting the Express name in 1997 any more. So the aircraft you saw was probably just not repainted yet. LH used to operate B737 of various series and several Airbuses.

One of the guys went on to say it was a low-cost domestic route, set up in competition to Deutsche BA. Unfortunately, it did not succeed enough in competition and was eventually shut down. They did fly some small Boeings like the 737, and the Airbus 300 and 310.

Additionally, a NY Times article from 1992 gives a small blurb about the startup of the line:

Under the new strategy, eight key domestic German routes are to be served by a special spin-off division, Lufthansa Express, that promises passengers a better on-time record, faster check-in and a chance at bargain prices.

...

Another innovation of Lufthansa Express will be bargain prices on late-night and short-notice flights. Passengers get a 55 percent discount savings on flights after 7:30 P.M., even without advance reservation, for example.

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The most controversial aspect of Lufthansa Express is something passengers are unlikely to hear much about: The starting pay for a crew on Express flights will be about 25 percent less than on traditional Lufthansa flights.

Another thread here has a few minor other details. Interestingly enough, Amazon still has a listing for a model LH Express 737 (out of stock).

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  • $\begingroup$ There is always a B-scale wage hiding behind rebranding like that. $\endgroup$ – casey Feb 9 '14 at 21:43
  • $\begingroup$ @casey i think i found the pic originally in a forum talking about the germanwings operation they're expanding... $\endgroup$ – Thunderstrike Feb 10 '14 at 22:38
  • $\begingroup$ @casey the lower ticket price has to come from somewhere, and with maintenance and fuel costing the same, it can only come from service and/or crew pay, with crew pay being the main factor in determining cost as service even at the time was already minimal on inter-European and especially European domestic routes. $\endgroup$ – jwenting Apr 8 '14 at 9:04
  • $\begingroup$ @jwenting That is a common rationalization, but that is all it is. The main factor in determining cost is an airlines ability to manage fuel costs. When they can't do that, they come to the crew but in reality the cost of the crew is far outweighed by fuel and the potential savings for the airline by reducing crew pay quickly diminish as fuel costs increase. $\endgroup$ – casey Apr 8 '14 at 9:17
  • $\begingroup$ @casey for an airline like DLH, the fuel cost per passengermile would be identical for their domestic and foreign operations (given the same aircraft type), so in order to lower cost within the existing framework the only option is to lower crew cost. They no doubt also try at every turn to reduce fuel cost, and ordering as a single operator for all their bases would help achieve that, giving them an edge there and then over smaller competitors. $\endgroup$ – jwenting Apr 8 '14 at 10:08

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