Promising development for new business model

The days when drones were associated with scary spy planes operated mainly by the military are long over. The picture is changing constantly as every year more and more unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), as they are officially termed, are used for commercial reasons and, increasingly, for private purposes, too. Lots of companies worldwide already apply UAV technology in the fields of agriculture, logistics, the media and advertising.

The Lufthansa Group has also recognized the potential of unmanned aerial technology, which is expected to have a big impact on people’s daily lives in the near future. An aviation expert for more than 60 years, Lufthansa plans to stay one step ahead and is currently examining a new aviation service business: Commercial drone operations by Lufthansa Aerial Services (LAS). This developing Lufthansa business model, organizationally located within and affiliated to Lufthansa Consulting, is currently in a board-approved proof of concept phase until the beginning of 2017.

The idea is that LAS will provide civil drone flight operations to large infrastructure customers and institutions that need aerial inspections, surveillance, measurement and data documentation in difficult or dangerous-to-access sites like wind turbine rotor blades, bridges or overland pipelines. Additionally, LAS will deliver automated aerial data analyses and provide its customers with quick information about infrastructural pains, irregularities and hotspots. Clients will benefit in terms of costs, safety, reliability, data quality, speed and environmental impact and the company’s consulting, technical, flight and start-up experience. These services are relevant to many external customers in different sectors as well as to internal businesses.

Lufthansa Consulting is the perfect partner for the LAS initiative as it has already successfully advised many airlines in their start-up phase and is therefore ideally placed to act as an "incubator" for success, and provide the necessary consulting expertise and innovative clout. The LAS project team, which consists of members of the Corporate Strategy department of the Lufthansa Group and Lufthansa Consulting specialists, is highly motivated and well focused. Together they have already developed test cases with and for potential customers who were highly satisfied with the performance of Lufthansa Aerial Services. The current development and success of the business model LAS is highly encouraging for its possible future within the Lufthansa Group.