Cruise ships chartered behind Newark – Lufthansa A350 flights in Malta

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This summer, Lufthansa is preparing to fly its Airbus A350 between Newark and Malta. According to several sources, it appears that the A350 will be roped up for charter flights to transport Viking Cruise passengers across the Atlantic Ocean.

This summer, Lufthansa’s Airbus A350s will be seen in flight between Newark and Malta. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Theft

It is not uncommon for the Lufthansa Airbus A350 plane to fly to Malta. Despite the short distance of such a flight, the airline has a Lufthansa Technik maintenance base on the island. This sees all kinds of maintenance activities being undertaken. One of the airline’s A350s, the D-AIXJ, was recently converted into a climate research aircraft at the site.

Flight from Newark to Malta

According to One mile at a time, Lufthansa is expected to fly its Airbus A350s from Malta to Newark this summer. Up to three times a week during the summer, the company’s A350 aircraft will operate the following flights,

  • LH489 – Newark (EWR) 8:45 p.m. – Malta (MLA) 11:25 a.m. + 1 – Airbus A350-900 – 8:40 a.m.
  • LH488 – Malta (MLA) 3:15 p.m. – Newark (EWR) 7:00 p.m. – Airbus A350-900 – 9:45 a.m.

It might seem like an incredibly odd route for a German carrier’s Airbus A350, but when the parts are put together, it all makes sense. Twitter user @xJonNYC managed to put the pieces together to realize that the flights are in fact charter flights to support the Viking Ocean Cruises operation this summer. It appears that the flights are scheduled to coincide with the date of departure of the ships from the island.

Lufthansa, Newark, Malta
The flights will be operated as charter services for Viking Cruises. Photo: Viking Cruises

This was confirmed by a spokesperson for Lufthansa, who told Simple Flying,

“Lufthansa plans to offer a series of flights this summer between New York (Newark Airport) and Malta in conjunction with a major cruise line that will operate Mediterranean cruises.”

For now, it looks like Lufthansa will only offer these flights to people booked on a Viking Ocean Crusie this summer, meaning others planning to fly to the island will likely have to do so through the airline’s hub at Frankfurt.

Frankfurt airport, passenger traffic, cargo volume
Ordinary Lufthansa passengers flying from New York to Malta will likely still have to change in Frankfurt. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Theft

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Not the first Lufthansa A350 charter

Interestingly, this is not the first time that Lufthansa’s Airbus A350 fleet has been requested for charter flights this year. Earlier this year, the airline operated two non-stop flights between Hamburg and the Falkland Islands. With the flights, the airline was able to break its longest flight record in history, not once but twice. The current record now stands at 15 hours and 45 minutes.

The flights were made necessary by the ongoing pandemic, which meant that the crew heading to the research vessel Polarstern could not use the usual means of transport. To avoid importing COVID-19 to the Falkland Islands and the ship, all crew members and passengers on the flight had to quarantine themselves for 14 days in Hamburg before leaving for the adventure.

What do you think of the strange route of Lufthansa’s Airbus A350? Would you like to fly to Malta for a cruise this summer? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!





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