It is rather frightening to read even the most simple airline press release and see how it is used by the press in the most lazy and cynical way.
We all know that airlines are having a tough time at the moment so when Lufthansa issue a Press Release giving details of their winter timetable and begin it by saying “In view of weaker demand…” and go on to say that they are reducing the number of flights by 7.4%, the rest of the story writes itself. This was presented by many newspapers and specialist aviation publications (who should know better) as further proof of the bad state of the airline business.
The story suits everyone. The airline is happy because it shows its shareholders and employees that things are tough and they are taking matters seriously. For the journalist, it is an easy story to write because it fits into their standard themes of “economic hard times” and “a tough winter ahead”.
All very simple – except it is not really the proper story.
Lufthansa are decreasing the number of flights – all airlines do this over the winter, even in good times – but they are actually increasing the number of seats they have for sale!
The real story is that they are withdrawing some smaller aircraft and replacing them with larger ones (especially on short commuter routes). This will reduce the number of flights by 7.4% but the number of seats per kilometer that thay have for sale will increase by 1.1%.
All this is made clear in Lufthansa’s Press Release but it looks as if many journalists could not be bothered to read beyond the first paragraph before writing their story.