CHARLOTTE, N.C. (TheStreet) -- Lufthansa reiterated Tuesday that the new Oneworld hub in Charlotte won't be a problem for the Star Alliance co-founder, saying its passengers can continue to connect on US Airways.
"After negotiations with US Airways we are happy that the cooperation with US Airways on our Munich-Charlotte route will continue despite the fact that they are no longer with Star Alliance," said Lufthansa spokesman Nils Haupt.
Lufthansa flies Munich-Charlotte daily, currently with a three-class Airbus A340-600. US Airways, which has its largest hub in Charlotte, left Star for Oneworld on March 31 as a result of its merger with American (AAL - Get Report). Charlotte is the second-largest hub for combined American/US Airways.
Lufthansa said it will maintain an interline agreement with US Airways in Charlotte, as well as code-sharing with Star partner United (UAL). Also, Lufthansa passengers can continue to use US Airways' Charlotte airport club, the carrier said. Lufthansa will remain the only carrier offering first-class service between Charlotte and Europe.
US Airways operates 645 daily Charlotte departures to 142 destinations, including dozens of mid-sized southern cities whose primary access to international travel is through Charlotte and Atlanta.
Interline agreements allow airlines to accept one another's tickets, although they fall short of code-share agreements that allow carriers to put their flight numbers on another airline's flight.
Interline agreements outside of alliances allow airlines "to keep your friends close and your enemies closer," said aviation consultant Bob Mann.
Mann noted that Oneworld, unique among major airline alliances, allows member carriers to code share with non-members, although Star Alliance does not. "In Charlotte, this is a very practical arrangement," he said. "There's a huge German corporation presence in the area surrounding Charlotte. Lufthansa serves that very successfully, and it's important to them to continue doing that."
Juergen Siebenrock, Lufthansa vice president for the Americas, said "Charlotte has been an important gateway for Lufthansa since we re-launched service in March 2004.
"Lufthansa's Charlotte to Munich route is considered a vital link to the economies of Europe, in particular the automotive and electronic industries in Southern Germany," Siebenrock said in a prepared statement.
US Airways operates daily Charlotte-Frankfurt service. But US Airways has cut back on planned seasonal summer service to secondary European airports in Barcelona, Lisbon, Brussels and Manchester due to lower-than-expected bookings, The Charlotte Observer has reported.
The carrier had announced daily summer service through September or October, but now Brussels and Lisbon service has been cut back to four days a week and all of the flights will end about a month earlier than had been planned, the newspaper said.