The airline we now know as Lufthansa was formed in 1953 in West Germany, but didn’t start making its first flights until 1955 when German airspace was returned to German control.
In 1954, the company bought the rights to the name and logo of Deutsche Luft Hansa, the German flag carrier from 1926 to 1945, which formally went out of business after the defeat of Nazi Germany.
The “luft” in Lufthansa comes from the German word for air. The “hansa” component, meanwhile, is a reference to the Hanseatic League.
Also known as the Hansa, the league was an alliance of merchant guilds, commercial entities and trading towns in a number of northern German kingdoms. The league officially existed from 1358 until some time in the 16th century.
Fun fact #1: The German word “luft” is familiar to many through the country’s Nazi-era air force, the Luftwaffe, which is literally the “air weapon”.
Fun fact #2: Lufthansa’s logo is of a flying crane. A different version of this logo was used by the original Deutsche Luft Hansa airline.
Fun fact #3: Lufthansa also owns LSG Sky Chefs, the world’s largest airline catering company, as well as these other carriers: Air Dolomiti, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Swiss International Air Lines, Edelweiss Air, and Eurowings.