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Deutsche Lufthansa AG, commonly known as Lufthansa (sometimes also as Lufthansa German Airlines), is the de facto flag carrier of Germany and also the largest airline in Europe, both in terms of overall passengers carried and fleet size when combined with its subsidiaries. It operates services to 18 domestic destinations and 197 international destinations in 78 countries across Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe, using a fleet of more than 280 aircraft.
Besides the actual airline named Lufthansa, Deutsche Lufthansa AG is also the parent company for several other airlines and further aviation-related branches, including Swiss International Air Lines, Austrian Airlines, Germanwings and Lufthansa Technik. With over 620 aircraft, it has one of the largest passenger airline fleets in the world when combined with its subsidiaries. In 2012, the entire Lufthansa Group carried over 103 million passengers.
Lufthansa’s registered office and corporate headquarters are in Cologne. The main operations base, called Lufthansa Aviation Center (LAC), is located at Lufthansa’s primary traffic hub at Frankfurt Airport. The majority of Lufthansa’s pilots, ground staff, and flight attendants are based there. Lufthansa’s secondary hub is Munich Airport with a third, considerably smaller one maintained at Düsseldorf Airport which transfers to Germanwings, so Lufthansa only operates just around 10 destinations (excluding seasonal) which all have been transferred to Germanwings.
Lufthansa is one of the five founding members of the Star Alliance, the world’s largest airline alliance, formed in 1997.
Having been a state-owned enterprise until 1994, the majority of Lufthansa’s shares are nowadays held by private investors (88.52%), as well as MGL Gesellschaft für Luftverkehrswerte (10.05%), Deutsche Postbank (1.03%), and Deutsche Bank (0.4%). Since 1970, Lufthansa has involved its employees in profit sharing, giving them the opportunity to choose between cash and preference shares. When Lufthansa was privatised, employees received more than 3% of its shares.
The name of the company is derived from Luft (the German word for “air”), and Hansa (a Latin term meaning “guild” most commonly used historically in reference to the Hanseatic League).