Lufthansa to scale up flights to India

Written by Shaheen Mansuri | Mumbai | Updated: May 22 2010, 03:51am hrs
German air carrier Lufthansa is looking to increase its flight frequencies to various Indian destinations. The carrier, which operates flights to seven Indian destinations- New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata-operates 49 flights in the country. Including affiliates Swiss International Airlines and Austrian Airlines, it operates 65 flights a week.

The carrier has lined up orders worth 16 billion euros for acquisition of 160 aircraft, including 15 Airbus 380s and 25 Boeing 747-800s. We are getting a lot of these aircraft by 2010-11 and amongst other global destinations Indian market offers us a big potential, said Axel Hilgers, director, South Asia, Lufthansa.

Hilgers added the airlines India operations for this years January-April period have been better than the corresponding period in 2009. This, despite the volcanic ash and the pilot strike that led to suspension of flight operations for some days.

Analysts say Indian carrier Air India (AI) is all set to join the Star Alliance and Lufthansa already being a Star Alliance member will be able to expand its presence in the country. This could be one of the reasons for Lufthansas expansion plans.

Since AI is the first Indian airline to join the Star Alliance, even Lufthansa will have the advantage of expanding its network in the country, said an analyst. Its not only Lufthansa which is bullish on India operations, Air Asia expects to fly around two million passengers to and from India in the next three years.