Deutsche Lufthansa (East Germany)

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This article is about an airline from East Germany. For other airlines of that name, see Lufthansa (disambiguation).
Deutsche Lufthansa
(East Germany)
Deutsche Lufthansa East Germany logo.png
Founded 1955
Ceased operations 1963
Hubs Berlin Schönefeld Airport
Headquarters East Berlin, East Germany

Deutsche Lufthansa (abbreviated DLH) was an airline serving as the flag carrier of East Germany from 1955 to 1963. Because of the usage of the Lufthansa branding (the trademark rights were owned by West German Lufthansa) the East German company was under constant legal pressure, and was subsequently liquidated and replaced by Interflug.

History[edit]

A Deutsche Lufthansa Ilyushin Il-14 at Leipzig Airport (1956).
1956 East German stamp commemorating the inauguration of civilian domestic flights.

On 27 April 1955, East Germany and the Soviet Union signed an agreement by which Berlin Schönefeld Airport was transferred to civilian use (since 1945, it had been operated by the Soviet Army, with scheduled passenger flights having been operated by Aeroflot). As a consequence, the Council of Ministers of the GDR decided to set up a national East German airline, a move which was finalized on 1 July with the appointment of the company's initial management committee. Deutsche Lufthansa was chosen as name for the airline (previously, it had been used by Deutsche Luft Hansa, the German flag carrier from 1926 to 1945), even though the branding rights had been purchased by West German Lufthansa in 1954.

Deutsche Lufthansa acquired a fleet of Ilyushin Il-14 aircraft, which were initially operated by Soviet crews. The first flight of the airline took place on 16 September 1955, by which East German prime minister Otto Grotewohl travelled to Moscow for a state visit. Scheduled passenger flights were launched on 4 February 1956 with the inauguration of the East Berlin-Warsaw service. In the same year, the route network was expanded to include Moscow and Sofia as its most remote points. On 28 March 1960, the Ilyushin Il-18 (a turboprop airliner) was put into service with Deutsche Lufthansa.

Because of the usage of the Lufthansa branding, the company was sued by West German Lufthansa. As a side effect, the East German airline was prevented from being admitted into the International Air Transport Association (it could not become a member of the International Civil Aviation Organization either, because at that time neither East nor West Germany had been accepted into the United Nations). As a consequence, Deutsche Lufthansa was liquidated on 1 September 1963. Its staff, fleet and route network were transferred to Interflug, which had been founded as a state-owned charter airline in 1958 and served as East German flag carrier henceforth.

Route network[edit]

Deutsche Lufthansa served the following destinations on a scheduled basis. As airline code for its flight numbers, DH was used.[1][2][3][4]

City State Airport Commenced Ceased
Tirana Albania Tirana Airport
ca. 1960
Sofia Bulgaria Sofia Airport
1956
Prague Czechoslovakia Ruzyně Airport
1956
Barth East Germany Barth Airport
1958
East Berlin East Germany Schönefeld Airport
(hub)
1956
Dresden East Germany Klotzsche Airport
1958
Erfurt East Germany Erfurt Airport
1958
Karl-Marx-Stadt East Germany Jahnsdorf Airfield
1958
ca. 1960
Leipzig East Germany Leipzig/Halle Airport
1956
Budapest Hungary Ferihegy Airport
ca. 1960
Warsaw Poland Okęcie Airport
1956
Bucharest Romania Băneasa Airport
1956
Moscow Soviet Union Vnukovo Airport
1956
Vilnius Soviet Union Vilnius Airport
1956
ca. 1960
Belgrade Yugoslavia Belgrade Airport
ca. 1960

References[edit]

Bibliography