Lufthansa will bring new international competition to Minnesota with the launch of its first-ever service here next summer: A year-round nonstop between Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and Frankfurt, Germany.
The German airline will become the 18th — and the first new transcontinental carrier in more than four years — at MSP when it launches the service June 4.
"The Lufthansa announcement clearly enhances our credentials as an international destination," said Melvin Tennant, president and chief executive of Meet Minneapolis.
The addition of the Lufthansa service will help the region's marketers attract international tourists, book conferences and develop stronger business ties, with med tech and clean tech being two key economic sectors that Minnesota and Germany share.
"This announcement from Lufthansa is a reinforcement of the fact that Minneapolis-St. Paul is a global hub for business, and more direct connectivity to the heart of Europe will make our economy more competitive for companies seeking to do business in our state," said Peter Frosch, chief executive of the Greater MSP economic development group. "And it creates new options for business and personal travelers in Minnesota."
Travel demand to Europe is surging after pandemic shutdowns and as the dollar remains strong, with MSP's dominant carrier, Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines, expanding international service and more competition on the way. Last month, Aer Lingus announced plans to resume flights to Dublin next spring while Delta will add that nonstop route from MSP around the same time.
Even Lufthansa will have some competition for passengers. In April 2022, German leisure airline Condor restored its nonstop summer service to Frankfurt from MSP for the first time since 2019.
Metropolitan Airports Commission Chair Rick King believes Lufthansa saw strong demand not only from MSP travelers wanting another European destination but also those needing its connections to Africa and India.
"It's a multi-year effort to get a quality carrier like Lufthansa," he said.
Lufthansa Vice President Dirk Janzen said in a statement that these are "exciting times" for the airline.
"The United States remains our most important market outside of the Group's European home markets, and we could not be happier to open new gateways, offering additional travel opportunities from your region to our global network of destinations," he said.
Lufthansa will operate the MSP-FRA route five days a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday) with a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, offering a three-class configuration of business, premium economy and economy. Tickets are available beginning Wednesday.
The flight from Frankfurt will depart at 11:10 a.m. and arrive in Minneapolis at 1:15 p.m. The flight departing MSP leaves at 3:15 p.m. and arrives in Frankfurt at 6:40 a.m. the following day. (All times are local.)
The early morning arrival for Frankfurt-bound passengers will provide connectivity options to destinations across Lufthansa's global network. For example, demand to East Africa from the Twin Cities is currently the fourth-highest in the United States after Washington, D.C., New York and Chicago.
Lufthansa is a Star Alliance member that offers connections and flight benefits with a global network of partners that include United Airlines and Air Canada, which both operate at MSP.