Lufthansa, the second busiest air carrier in Europe, is reducing its upcoming winter schedule by nearly 1,000 weekly flights, according to the company on October 12.

The cuts will affect German and continental European routes the sharpest. Fewer routes will be available beginning the end of October in places such as Yerevan in Armenia, Bristol in England, Ufa in Russia and Portland (Oregon), US.

The company is expanding its services to West and Central Africa, however, by opening daily flights to the Nigerian capital of Abjua, a thrice-weekly flight to Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, and four weekly flights to Nigeria's Port Harcourt.

The new winter schedule runs October 25, 2009 through March 27, 2010.

The company said that while fewer route options will be available to customers this winter, the return of larger aircrafts will increase overall available seating by 1.1 percent from last winter.  It blames the economis downturn for the reduction in flight numbers.

Lufthansa is cutting 7.4% of its weekly flights from the same season a year ago overall, down to 12,406 flights this winter from 13,402 during the same period last year.