Lufthansa currently operates 10 daily flights in and out of India, carrying around 3,000 passengers every day. Lufthansa will also soon name one of its Airbus A-380 aircraft as ‘Delhi’, in keeping with its tradition of naming aircraft after cities, he said.
India is one of the markets in which Lufthansa group would plan operating low cost inter-continental flights through its fullyowned subsidiary Eurowings — a low cost carrier. On its plans for low-cost operations to India, Spohr said: “It’s too early to say. We only recently started last year … since we are looking at extension of our fleet, our intercontinental aircraft with Eurowings. I was mentioning that India will be on the list but we do not replace existing destinations. We will rather complement, natural thought will be Goa.”German carrier Lufthansa plans to expand ties with Jet Airways to help its customers get better access to connecting flights in India. Lufthansa group, however, do not have any plan to buy an equity stake in any Indian carrier and would continue its focus on acquisitions in Europe, Carsten Spohr, chairman and CEO, Deutsche Lufthansa AG said on Wednesday.
“Etihad group is an investor in Jet Airways so when we look to intensify our cooperation with Etihad we will also look to enhancing the bilateral relationship between Jet Airways and Lufthansa, which already exists but could offer room for more,” he said. This will give Lufthansa customers better connectivity with the Tier II market in India through the network of Jet Airways.
Lufthansa group will be deploying the Airbus A-350 aircraft, dubbed as the most modern long haul aircraft making 50 per cent less noise and consuming 25 per cent less fuel, in the Indian market between Mumbai and Munich. Brussels Airlines, in which Lufthansa recently acquired a stake, will start operations between Brussels and Mumbai, Spohr said
When asked about any plan for seeking more bilateral traffic rights with India, Lufthansa said it is yet to fully utilise the existing bilateral. “As regards to the bilaterals, we feel very comfortable with bilaterals we have in place with India and Germany or Switzerland or Belgium. Actually, there is still not a 100 per cent use. We are using it 75 per cent, so there is room and that’s the reason why we are deploying larger, bigger aircraft for passengers. So there is at the moment no issue in terms of our growth in India,” said Wolfgang Will, senior director for South Asia at Lufthansa Group.
On the civil aviation ministry’s earlier proposal to auction unused bilaterals, which was later dropped when the National Civil Aviation Policy was finalised, Will said Lufthansa was surprised to learn about the proposal.
“Actually we were surprised to know this. We hadn’t heard this before. I believe also that this idea was not taken further. Interesting approach, actually for us there is no need to participate in any auctioning of number of seats because the bilaterals are always between two countries and as I said our bilaterals are not used 100 per cent but can be used by any other German or Indian carriers.”