Carsten Spohr climbs a rickety stairway with dim lighting and walls painted in an unappealing green. Most of the buildings in the neighborhood are as rundown as this one.
After walking up four flights of stairs, the 49-year-old chief executive steps over a pair of kid’s shoes and enters an apartment strewn with discarded airplane passenger seats. He’s all smiles.
Mr. Spohr is a big fan of the Innovation Hub, a startup in Berlin launched by Lufthansa. He views the subsidiary, which develops apps for online businesses, as the nucleus of a new, digital Lufthansa. With ventures like this one and other novel ideas, he hopes to radically transform the 90-year-old airline.