The Lufthansa Airport Express (short LHA ) was used from 1982 to 1993 by the airline Lufthansa train type of long-distance passenger traffic. It served as a replacement for short-haul flights on the routes from Dusseldorf and Stuttgart to Frankfurt am Main airport.


The Lufthansa Airport Express was established thanks to the efforts of the German Ministry of Transport.

The main aim of the concept was to release by shifting short-haul flights to 300 kilometers airport capacity for long-haul flights and at the same time protect the environment.

Although the features and design of the trains rather the Lufthansa business class standard corresponded - were utilized exclusively former first -class vehicles - just had to pay the cheaper economy fare the LHA passengers. The trains ran it both under a train number as well as under a Lufthansa flight number, the luggage was checked through directly to the connecting flights. The Lufthansa Airport Express could only be used with flight tickets, where - there was a feeder agreement with Condor service and in the course of interlining and passengers of other airlines were able to use the features - such as in air traffic.

In the trains replaced about 3,000 short-haul flights. Only in the last year of operation, 1992, 270,000 passengers used the trains. In direct relation to the LHA also was the advertising slogan Travel to zero altitude a household word for fast and comfortable trains.


First connection from Dusseldorf to Frankfurt

From 28 March 1982, the electric multiple units of class 403 as Lufthansa Airport Express came into favor, they drove from now on in order and finish of Lufthansa. The trains ran four times daily in each direction, between the Düsseldorf Main Station and the Frankfurt am Main Airport, this two rounds were needed. Intermediate stops were made in Cologne- Deutz, Cologne main station and Bonn Hauptbahnhof. Operationally, they were classified as Trans Europ Express ( TEE) until the summer of 1987, then the TEA type of train finally disappeared from the German Rail ( regular TEE trains operated last in 1982 ):

  • TEA 61/62 (from the summer of 1986: TEA 1001/1002 ) = LH 1001/1002
  • TEA 63/64 (from the summer of 1986: TEA 1003/1004 ) = LH 1003/1004
  • TEA 65/66 (from the summer of 1986: TEA 1005/1006 ) = LH 1005/1006
  • TEA 67/68 (from the summer of 1986: TEA 1007/1008 ) = LH 1007/1008

After a year of operation, the continued operation of the trains was threatened on 1 April 1983 after the Federal Railroad wanted to increase the annual Lufthansa for the trains invoiced rent on this date from eight to eleven million D- marks per year. The previous price was covered according to DB data hardly the cost.

On March 27, 1983, the connection was extended to the airport Dusseldorf, continue with four pairs of trains daily over the entire route. New terminal was now on the underground Düsseldorf Airport train station, the Düsseldorf Main Station became the stopover. The end of 1983 extended federal railway and Lufthansa cooperation for another two years until the spring of 1986.

Total per unit were 171 seats available, after a recent refurbishment in 1988, the capacity was reduced to 151 seats. The average utilization of the trains was in the first three weeks in October 1983 at 80 passengers per train, compared to 30 travelers per train in the same period last year. For a commercial operation ranged Lufthansa from 30 to 35 per day. Punctuality at the destination station was in the first 18 months of operation at around 90 percent. Particularly is the LHA was there with travelers from overseas, they particularly appreciated the scenic drive on the left Rhine line.

Second connection from Stuttgart to Frankfurt

In the absence of other suitable trainsets were used for the second line of the Lufthansa Airport Express conventional car trains, they consisted of a locomotive 111 series and three compartment car Eurofimabauart ( genus Avmz 207). These cars were at that time about ten years old and had previously come as 1st class cars in intercity trains of the DB used. The new compound was served with a garnish, this addition to the locomotive ( 111049-3 ) a total of four cars ( three scheduled for garnish and one spare car) were repainted in the colors of Lufthansa. Moreover, the four cars in the repair plant in Krefeld - Oppum were rebuilt for the new purpose, while the outer two of the former nine compartments were removed and replaced with a galley and a luggage compartment. After the conversion, each of the four cars only 42 seats ( previously 54) had over seven six compartments. The entire train is offered a total of 126 passengers, a distinction based on booking class or classes of cars, there was not even on the southern route.

The maximum speed of the locomotive-hauled Lufthansa Airport Express was 160 km / h ( due to the used locomotive 111 series ), a higher velocity was given the was opened to high-speed railway Mannheim -Stuttgart for this connection but also not necessary. Were offered daily at first two pairs of trains, travel time was 120 minutes. Intermediate stops were at the north route on the southern route no.

Also introduced in May 1990 LHA connection Stuttgart-Frankfurt/Main airport was very successful, so it was decided to expand the concept to commissioning of the high-speed line Mannheim -Stuttgart in June 1991 from two to four pairs of trains daily. In particular, it was hoped by the shorter journey times another appeal thrust of this second route of the Lufthansa Airport Express. Due to the shorter journey times to now only 90 minutes it was still possible to travel the four trains in each direction with only one train set.

However, were due to the higher velocity and the pressure problem in the many tunnels of the new line no longer be used to date vehicles. Therefore, there were new vehicles from the collection of the German Railways adapted the locomotive of the 111 series was replaced by a faster machine series 103 ( 200 km / h instead of just 160 km / h), this was 103101-2 in the colors Lufthansa repainted, the car used so far have been built back in the original condition and returned in the intercity service.

For the new train from June 1991 Inter City - compartment car Eurofima type were rebuilt, but this time three cars of the genus Avmz 107, which had been previously druckertüchtigt for intercity service on new routes. However, the conversion of this car was much more extensive than in 1989 rebuilt cars. It in turn the two outer compartments were abandoned in favor of a baggage compartment and a galley, but may also be the compartment structure of the donor car was broken up by wall breaks something. There was a mix of compartment car and open seating car with two so-called large compartments (one with 15 and one with 10 seats ) and two classical compartments, but which had only five seats. The three such converted cars were now referred to as Type Avmz 106 and had henceforth only 35 seats ( compared with 54 in the donor car). To use this new seats, which largely corresponded to those of the first -generation ICE came. In addition to the three compartment car also four open seating car type Bpmz were rebuilt for the Lufthansa Airport Express, they offered 39 passengers.

In 1991, the expansion of the offer was successful, about 11,000 passengers were carried on a monthly basis. For summer timetable 1992, the travel time Hbf-Frankfurt/Main Stuttgart airport could be reduced a second time, she fell at that time of 90 to 85 minutes.

Suspension of operations

However, due to corrosion damage to the vehicles of the route Dusseldorf -Frankfurt and the increasing competition from the ICE traffic of the former German Federal Railroad on the route between Stuttgart and Frankfurt, Lufthansa came in the first half of the 1990s, after almost ten years back from the rail sector back.

Despite lower operating costs ( than comparable short-haul flights ) and high ridership, the Lufthansa Airport Express was set on 23 May 1993. The reason for the adjustment is also that the trains appeared later in the optimized short travel times reservation system for travel agencies and the sale was made ​​more difficult. At the same time the offer with the later introduced Rail & Fly was in competition, which offered a much greater flexibility than the trains running each four times a day to two goals Airport Express trains with dense clocks, and many more destinations.


Instead of Airport Express trains first entered special first class quotas on board € City or intercity trains which plied on the Frankfurt airport. As a follow-up project to 1993 and still held to this day special by Lufthansa seats in regular ICE trains between Cologne, Frankfurt and Stuttgart, this cooperation with Deutsche Bahn AG is marketed under the name AIRail and is based on the code sharing principle.

The cars of the second compound was rebuilt mid-1990s for the tourist train and are now used in intercity trains.