I have been to Luxembourg once. This tiny Grand Duchy has a population of half a million in an area of just under 1000 square miles (2 586sq km) in an area bounded by Belgium, Germany and France. It is the 170th smallest country in the world and the second wealthiest.
The Grand Duchy has a railway company: Chemins de Fer Luxembourgeois with six lines. The last visit I had to Luxembourg was by train so I have not had the pleasure of flying the Duchy’s airline: Luxair. The carrier is rated a 3 star by Skytrax -but has very high customer reviews.
The country must be one of the smallest countries in the world to have their own flag carrier. The Luxembourg Airlines Company was founded in 1948 and Luxair emerged from this operation in 1961. The airline flies to 59 destinations (of which 39 are seasonal) using 15 planes
- Embraer ERJ-145 (Six Planes)
- Bombardier Q400 (Five planes)
- Boeing 737-700 (Three planes)
- Boeing 737-800 (One plane- with more on order)
- Amsterdam (currently a KLM monopoly)
- Geneva (Luxair and Darwin currently fly this route)
- Milan (currently a Luxair monopoly albiet code-shared with Alitalia
The new Chair of Luxair (Former Luxembourg City Mayor Paul Helminger) announced last week, that the carrier will focus on becoming a budget carrier dropping some routes and adding others. A strategy fraught with risk. The other issue is that the airlines’ unions have not been consulted on this direction.
So the future looks like it contains one of these four possibilities:
- a Qatar/Luxembourg state owned company (merged with or more closely associated with Cargolux) with bases in Europe feeding the long-haul traffic into Qatar Airways from several European cities. The name “Luxair” is multilingual, and the association with Luxembourg must be seen as positive brand-wise, OR
- a Lufthansa owned subsidiary (although this sounds like it has fallen through) OR
- a stand alone Budget carrier which would probaby be much smaller than the current operation- maybe with siex to ten hubs OR
- gone within seven to ten years