Lufthansa threatens to reduce Frankfurt flights over fee row

FRANKFURT, Dec 13 (Reuters) - German airline Lufthansa warned that it could move some of its flights away from Frankfurt airport because of a fee structure that it argues favours rivals such as Ryanair.

Lufthansa, which accounts for two thirds of passenger volume at Frankfurt, has criticised airport operator Fraport for its new fee structure which offers incentives to airlines that increase their passenger numbers by opening up a new route or increasing capacity.

The new fees are being introduced just as Ryanair plans to move into Lufthansa’s home hub of Frankfurt, stepping up its push into bigger airports and ratcheting up pressure on the German carrier, which is expanding its own budget flights.

“One of the consequences could be that we give up some routes,” Lufthansa board member Harry Hohmeister told journalists on Tuesday, adding that the carrier was considering legal steps against the fee structure.

He did not specify which airport Lufthansa might use as an alternative were it to move some flights. Lufthansa would hold talks with Fraport about the matter in January, he added.

The dispute adds to Lufthansa’s problems as it struggles to resolve a long-running dispute with pilots which has cost the airline hundreds of millions of euros in lost profit since 2014. (Reporting by Peter Maushagen; Writing by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Keith Weir)