Lufthansa wants more buying power with plane makers

Lufthansa is seeking to unify standards across its group of five airlines for the engines and cockpits of planes it would deploy in future as part of efforts to boost its purchasing power over aircraft makers.

"It's like buying a car: there is a basic version and then you decide what extras you need," Martin Brodbeck, a pilot at Lufthansa unit SWISS airline, was quoted as saying by company newsletter Lufthansaseat on Friday.

Brodbeck said finding common aircraft specifications was part of Lufthansa's so-called SCORE program, launched in February this year to reduce overheads, bundle purchasing activities and streamline administrative processes at the company.

SCORE aims to boost operating profit by at least 1.5 billion euros ($2 billion) by end of 2014, compared with 2011.

Lufthansa manager Volker Rothmann, who also works on SCORE, told Lufthansaseat bundling the requirements would apply to planes like the Airbus A320neo family and the CSeries from Canada's Bombardier, as well as to the Boeing 787 or the Airbus A350 models.

"If the Group airlines bundle their interests and find a common denominator, they can pool their purchasing power," Rothmann said.

"They can then place one single order with Boeing, Airbus or other manufacturers and negotiate more favorable terms and conditions," he said.

The Lufthansa group comprises Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airline and Germanwings.

Lufthansaseat said Lufthansa's new low-cost brand for its short-haul flights was aiming for positive financial results in 2015 and to contribute a three-digit-million euro savings to SCORE.

Lufthansa announced last month it would merge its European and German domestic routes, using its existing low-cost airline Germanwings as a basis, from January 1, 2013.

(Reporting by Marilyn Gerlach; editing by Keiron Henderson)