Lufthansa Group airlines has reported a major boost in bookings to the United States in the past week, seeing some routes return to pre-pandemic levels.
The German carrier said on certain days, its flights across the Atlantic “increased three-fold” compared to the previous week.
The uptick follows shortly after the White House announced the long-awaited reopening of US borders to Europe for the fully vaccinated.
“Lufthansa Group expects that the opening of the US to vaccinated EU travellers will be a signal for other countries and regions to make international air travel easier again and roll back travel restrictions,” the company said.
It said flights with SWISS from Zurich and Lufthansa from Frankfurt to New York, and from Frankfurt and Zurich to Miami received the highest bookings.
Lufthansa said the rise in bookings came from both leisure and business travellers.
Trans-Atlantic travel was paused since March 2020, one of the longest periods of border closures between included nations – taking a major toll on European and US tourism.
America maintained a tight grip on its borders – despite high vaccination rates – as the Delta strain of COVID-19 surged across Europe.
The inevitable pent-up demand has led to Lufthansa launching additional flights to the US on short notice, such as offering a combined total of three daily flights to Miami.
These will begin in November, which is when the White House indicated the borders will officially reopen.
“There is very strong demand for flights to the USA for the coming December,” Lufthansa said.
“Flights to New York – traditionally in high demand during the Christmas season – have already been bolstered with additional connections.”
Lufthansa added that flights for the Christmas season were also as high as 2019 – a major return for the company which lost €6.7 billion in 2020.
Other European airline giants such as KLM Royal Dutch Airline announced two days ago that the company would restore some of its routes to the US, such as flights to Miami and Las Vegas.
The US is one of Lufthansa’s most valuable travel customers according to the airline.
“Alone to New York and Chicago, Lufthansa Group airlines offer more daily connections from Europe in November than flights to the entire Asia-Pacific region,” it said.
Americans represent over six million of the 37 million foreign tourists who enter the country annually, followed third after neighbouring nations Netherlands and Switzerland, according to Deutschland.de.
Lufthansa’s growth in bookings only comes weeks after the airline committed to paying back €9 billion in government funded bailouts it received in a bid to stay afloat during the pandemic.
The Frankfurt-based airline launched a US$2.51 billion capital increase after seeing an increase in European travel.