Lufthansa expanding fleet and reach amidst turmoil all around

Chennai: At a time when several European and American airlines are facing turbulent times, with a couple of them even being grounded, Lufthansa German Airlines is expanding its fleet and reach.

Clocking a profit of €717 million last year (group turnover: €17 billion), the airline is looking at the Asia Pacific region in general and India and China in particular for expansion. Last year Lufthansa saw passenger traffic from this region showing a 6.6 per cent when the airlines' overall passenger traffic saw a 3-per cent decline.

The Asia Pacific region contributes 20 per cent of its gross revenue for a seat capacity of 38,518. The airline operates 124 flights to and from this region. “India contributes 13 per cent of our revenues from Asia Pacific,“ says Manfred Reimer, vice-president, Asia-Pacific.

Part of the India strategy is the expansion of its Boeing 747-400 nonstop services between Chennai and Frankfurt from three to six flights per week. Lufthansa will offer a three-class configuration with 16 first class, 64 business class and 310 economy class seats.

Operating 23 flights every week between India and Germany, touching down at four Indian cities (New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore), Reimer says the airline is open for increasing the flight frequency provided the government permits. “We offer more flights and destinations in India as compared to any other European carriers.“

Lufthansa is logging a good year-on-year passenger traffic growth rate in all routes it operates in India. To give the Indian touch to its travelers Lufthansa has Indians as in-flight attendants, offers desi cuisine and entertainment (movies) on board.