On June 8, 1955, Lufthansa's first international flight arrived in New York marking the birth of the airline's long-haul services. The airline began its operations with two long-haul flights per week from Germany to New York in a Lockheed 1049 "Super G" Constellation. The trip took 20 hours, which included a stop in Dusseldorf and a refueling stop in Ireland. Today, Lufthansa offers 104 long-haul flights to 77 destinations globally per day.
(Photo Credit: Lufthansa)
In 1955, Lufthansa's fleet consisted of four Super Constellations that carried 74,040 passengers in its first year of long-haul operations, 18,420 of which crossed the North Atlantic. (Edit: Pictured here on the left are Lufthansa stewardesses in front of the airline's medium-range aircraft, the Vickers Viscount.)
Today's fleet has 275 aircraft and carries 15 million passengers a year. In 1955, the first flight carried only 20 passengers in First Class and 44 in Tourist Class as the Super Constellation had a maximum capacity of 86-94 seats. Lufthansa's transatlantic flagships today (the Boeing 747-8 and the Airbus A380) allows 364-509 guests, respectively.
In 1955, there were no ground processes for passengers. Today, we have many new security measures and Lufthansa also offers more than 60 group dedicated lounges.
On the first flight there was only 1,000 kg of cargo held on the aircraft. Today, Lufthansa moves 1,700,00 t of cargo and mail transported per year.
Lufthansa was the first airline to serve fresh coffee and rolls. Today, there is a choice of 16 meals on Lufthansa long-haul flights.
In the 1950s, Lufthansa offered its youngest passengers the constant supervision of stewardesses, allowing children to take trips on their own.
In the 1960s, jets started to replace propellers and allowed aircraft to fly at higher speeds, increase capacity and improve ranges. Starting in 1960, the four-engined Boeing 707s flew on Lufthansa's long-haul routes.
With the purchase of Boeing 707s, Lufthansa restructured its entire route network. Fares for flying dropped and capacity rose sharply, especially on North Atlantic routes.
Pictured here are pairs of Lufthansa pilots in 1963 and in 2015. In over 50 years, the uniform has not changed much.
The end of the 1960s marked a pivotal time in aircraft travel. The price for oil soared in the early 1970s (with the two major oil crisis in 1973 and 1979).
This resulted in Lufthansa engineers, as well as aircraft engine manufacturers, to combine expertise and reduce fuel consumption. This decade formed a new awareness of fuel and new collective thinking process.
Lufthansa received its first Boeing 747 (or the "Jumbo") on April 26, 1970. The aircraft has two aisles and wider cabins allowing better services on long flights.
Today, Lufthansa has the second largest Western European fleet and flies to 215 destinations in 77 countries with hubs in Frankfurt and Munich. Currently operating 275 aircraft, the airline is projected to have 282 aircraft by the end of the year, according to Aviation Week data.