Deutsche Lufthansa AG is not only the biggest airline in Germany—it is also one of the world's most prestigious international carriers. Way the hell back in 1926, the year Deutsche Luft Hansa ("German Flight Traders") was founded, it already had over a hundred aircraft in its inventory, and by the start of World War II it was already bridging Bangkok and Santiago.

Adolf Hitler ended this fairly quickly. Lufthansa's route network collapsed after the invasion of Poland, and the German surrender in 1945 caused the airline to cease its already meager continental operations. The Lufthansaless era was a short one, however. Hans M. Bongers, an ex-Lufthansa executive in Cologne, was placed in charge of a new national airline, originally called Luftag but quickly renamed to Lufthansa before beginning flights in 1955.

After being privatized by a unified Germany, Lufthansa became one of the founding members of the Star Alliance, and started a regional subsidiary called Lufthansa CityLine GmbH.

At first, they used Convair 340's for short routes, Vickers Viscounts for longer routes, and Lockheed Constellations for international flights. Then, the Boeing 707 entered the fleet, and everyone began flying jet. From that point until the late 1970's, Lufthansa's fleet was almost entirely supplied by Boeing, except for some McDonnell Douglas DC-10's. They used Boeing 727's for European routes and Boeing 747's for intercontinental routes, and their domestic network was the birthplace of the Boeing 737, the world's most popular jetliner. After Toulouse rolled out the Airbus A300, Lufthansa began the transition to a European fleet, which is still ongoing. Today, their fleet breaks down as:

 30 Boeing 747-400
  8 Boeing 747-200F
 14 Boeing MD-11F
 29 Boeing 737-300
 27 Boeing 737-500

  6 Airbus A340-200
 28 Airbus A340-300
 12 Airbus A300-600
  4 Airbus A310
 26 Airbus A321
 33 Airbus A320
 16 Airbus A319

 18 Avro RJ85
  9 Canadair CRJ700
 43 Canadair CRJ200

In addition to flying people all around the world (with a connection in Frankfurt am Main, of course), Lufthansa also runs the world's largest airline food provider (Sky Chefs), a humongous aircraft maintenance firm (Lufthansa Technik), flight schools, tour operators, and a number of other companies. They employ nearly 100,000 people, and hold assets totalling €19.1 billion. Not bad.

Incidentally, ever wonder what their logo is supposed to be? It's actually a crane... and along with the speedbird, it's probably one of the most immortal airline logos ever created.

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