In Operation Starlight, Luftmann was a Swiss international adventurer who had set up an air transportation service, specialising in the illicit movement of contraband and personnel across borders without customs formalities.
Originally, Luftmann's large and highly organised gang included an American gangster named Alex but he had been expelled after being caught pilfering. Alex subsequently set up a rival gang and engaged in bitter gang warfare with Luftmann which steadily wore down Luftmann's operations.
Luftmann's downfall came when Algy penetrated the gang undercover as an ex-R.A.F. pilot named "Mason". Engaged to fly for Luftmann, Algy learned of his secret base in a farmhouse on the southern fringe in the Ashdown Forest. This led to the arrest of Group Captain Brail who managed the base. From Brail, the police learned of the secret procedure for communicating with Luftmann based in Switzerland. Using this procedure, Biggles, posing as Brail, enticed Luftmann to the farmhouse where he was arrested.