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Lufthansa appoints new chief with goal to protect industry lead

Germany's flag carrier Lufthansa announced Wednesday that deputy chief executive, Christoph Franz, is to take over the top job at Europe's biggest airline.

Christoph Franz

Franz's tenure at the top of Lufthansa will last until mid-2014

Germany's flag carrier Lufthansa has named deputy chairman Christoph Franz as its new chief. The 50-year-old, who managed the restructuring of Swiss Air, was named as the successor to Wolfgang Mayrhuber.

"The appointment will be effective from January 1, 2011, for a term until May 31, 2014, in accordance with German stock corporation law," Lufthansa said in a statement released Wednesday.

The airline said Franz would be tasked with maintaining Lufthansa's position as Europe's leading carrier by passenger numbers.

His appointment comes at a time when the global passenger airline industry is rebounding after the financial crisis and severe disruptions to flight paths caused by the prolonged eruption of a volcano in Iceland.

Franz joined Lufthansa in 1990 before leaving for Germany's national railway operator, Deutsche Bahn, where he worked in various executive positions over nearly a decade. He rejoined the Lufthansa group in 2004 as CEO of Swiss International Airlines, which he restructured and returned to profit.

Meanwhile, Lufthansa said Wednesday it had procured an order of jets from European plane maker Airbus worth around $4.3 billion (3.2 billion euros).

"Lufthansa's supervisory board has approved the acquisition of 40 Airbus aircraft worth approximately $4.3 billion," Airbus confirmed in a statement.

The planes will be used within the Lufthansa fleet, as well as by the airline's Germanwings and Swiss Air subsidiaries.

Author: Darren Mara (dpa/AFP)
Editor: Susan Houlton

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