ON MARCH 1 German Railway introduced its long-planned service for airline passengers between Stuttgart and Frankfurt Airport, in conjunction with the national airline Lufthansa. There are initially six daily ICE services in each direction

Air travellers can now check their luggage through to their destination airport from Lufthansa desks at Stuttgart main station. The bags are conveyed to Frankfurt Airport in sealed containers for transfer to the aircraft - DB has modified 21 of its ICE1 units to accommodate up to three airline baggage containers in a secure area. The checked baggage facility applies to all Lufthansa destinations other than Tel Aviv.

Marketed as AIRail Service, the scheme is a pilot for other routes where Lufthansa is considering withdrawal of loss-making domestic flights under a co-operation programme with DB.

Passengers use a single ticket for the rail and air legs of their journey and are treated to business class service on the rail leg. A 46-seat first class ICE coach is chartered by the airline on each train. Use of the rail service also attracts points under Lufthansa’s Miles & More frequent flyer loyalty scheme. Latest check-in time is 20min before the train departure.

The service also works for incoming passengers, who collect their bags from a carousel installed at Stuttgart station, where DB has provided customs facilities.

From June 10 the Stuttgart - Frankfurt AIRail ICE service will be stepped up to two-hourly, with the last departure from Stuttgart at 17.25 and the latest inbound service leaving Frankfurt at 21.22.

SNCF has signed an agreement with a group of local authorities in Orléans to operate a return Les Aubrais - Aéroport Charles-de-Gaulle TGV service, running Mondays to Thursdays for a nine-month trial period from December 1. The authorities will provide financial support should the number of passengers per train fall below 220, sharing profits with SNCF above this level.