When Lufthansa founded Lufthansa AirPlus Servicekarten GmbH in Frankfurt in 1989, no one had any inkling of just how successful this small company would one day be.
From the start, AirPlus offered solutions for professional handling of business travel expenses – so it was dedicated to a niche product. But in fact, there was demand for solutions like these on the market, and so AirPlus soon became the number one provider in Germany. Then, in 1996, the company took the plunge and went international, offering products and services in neighboring Austria as well. Further plans to expand into markets in Europe, the United States, and South America were also in the works. In 2002, the company founded AirPlus International Inc. in New York and AirPlus International Ltd. in London. Just one year later, a subsidiary in Switzerland followed. AirPlus International AG, based in Zurich, would go on to be responsible for all of AirPlus’s business in Switzerland. Following, in 2003, AirPlus took another important step toward growth and expansion by establishing new regional headquarters in Hong Kong. These days, China is the second largest market for AirPlus.
New countries by the month
The company owes its international success first and foremost to the Company Account and AirPlus Information Manager, an online tool for analysis and management of companies’ travel budgets that has remained unique to this day and can also analyze global travel expenses in detail. When this product became successfully established on the market, in 2003, AirPlus set an ambitious goal for itself: to tap into many new countries in the years that followed. And countries all over the world were indeed added in the period after that, with a new one joining almost every month, among them Australia, South Korea, and the Baltic states. AirPlus was already offering its products in 28 countries by 2005, and in 2009 the number had climbed to more than 60.
Today, AirPlus is represented with products and services worldwide and maintains 30 locations. And to keep its success from this period going, the company is still always on the lookout for interesting and important markets.