Cruise ship charters behind Newark

This summer, Lufthansa is expected to fly its Airbus A350 between Newark and Malta. According to multiple sources, it appears the A350 will be roped off for charter flights to ferry Viking Cruise passengers across the Atlantic Ocean.

It is not uncommon for Lufthansa Airbus A350s 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 sorts of maintenance activities undertaken. One of the airline’s A350s, D-AIXJ, was recently converted into a climate research aircraft at the site.

Flying from Newark to Malta

According to One Mile At A Time, Lufthansa is set to fly its Airbus A350 from Malta to Newark this summer. Up to three times a week during the summer, the airline’s A350 will operate the following flights,

  • LH489 – Newark (EWR) 20:45 – Malta (MLA) 11:25+1 – Airbus A350-900 – 08h40m
  • LH488 – Malta (MLA) 15:15 – Newark (EWR) 19:00 – Airbus A350-900 – 09h45m

It might seem like an incredibly strange route for a German carrier’s Airbus A350s, 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 operation of Viking Ocean Cruises this summer. It seems that the flights are scheduled to coincide with the date of departure of the ships from the island.

This was confirmed by a Lufthansa spokesperson, 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.”

At the moment, it looks like Lufthansa will only be offering these flights to people booked on a Viking Ocean Crusie this summer, meaning others who plan to travel to the island will likely have to do so through the hub of Airline Frankfurt.

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This is not Lufthansa’s first A350

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

The flights were necessitated 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 onto the ship, all crew and passengers on the flight had to quarantine for 14 days in Hamburg before setting off on the adventure.

What do you think of the strange routing 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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