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Tuesday, 02 November, 2010, 12 : 00 PM [IST]

Lufthansa Group targets to operate daily flights across all Indian sectors by end of 2011

Launches direct flights from Mumbai to Vienna
Lufthansa Group consisting of three operating airlines- Lufthansa German Airlines, Swiss International Airlines and Austrian Airlines has set a target to operate daily flights on all its sectors from India by end of 2011. Through the three airlines, the Group currently operates in cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Pune, Hyderabad, Kolkata. In the next summer schedule, it aims to increase frequencies of Lufthansa Airlines from Pune from four to five flights per week. It is further considering opportunities to increase services from three to four flights per week from Kolkata and Hyderabad for the summer schedule.

Informing TravelBiz Monitor about the same on the sidelines of the press conference held yesterday to announce the launch of direct flights from Vienna to Mumbai, Axel Hilgers, Director- South Asia, Lufthansa stated, “Our target for 2011 is to resume our daily flights for all destinations in India. Some critical parameters that affect consumers’ choice of an airline are price, network, product and convenience. However, the parameter that is pivotal for a corporate traveller is that of network. Hence, we want to provide a better network for this major segment.”

With an aim to enhance product and service offering for customers, Hilgers also highlighted the Group’s plan to launch a new lounge at Terminal 3 (T3) of Delhi’ Indira Gandhi International Airport by May 2011. It will also work on easing transit time for travellers by ensuring quick transfers. Corporate travel and leisure traffic comprises about 40 per cent each of the Group’s total customer profile. It aims to increase its corporate traffic to about 50 per cent, as well as explore niche travel segments like MICE and Medical Tourism.

Talking about the start of Austrian Airlines’ direct flights from Mumbai to Vienna, Andreas Bierwith, Member of Executive Board, Austrian Airlines said that with a total of 11 weekly flights, this route is operated by Boeing 767 aircraft. In addition to this, there has also been an increase in the number of flights from New Delhi to Vienna from five to six flights per week. “After developing a strong base in Europe, we are now looking to expand further in Asia. We aim to make our operations in India profitable within the next 12 months,” added Bierwith.

This year proved to be profitable for the aviation industry than last year, which came as an opportunity to Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines to expand in India. According to Christina Debbah, Vice President, Global Sales & Distribution, Austrian Airlines, “India generates its highest market share for our airline in the corporate segment. We aim to position our brand in line with Lufthansa. While our primary target segment is corporate, we are exploring new market segments in India.”

Austrian Airlines, whose transit passengers from India accounts to 60 per cent, during vacations increases by about 10-15 per cent more, is offering a total of 130 destinations in and outside Europe from Vienna. Debbah informed that out of 100 destinations outside Vienna, they have added 55 destinations in Eastern Europe, which are top priority, and the remaining 45 are distributed between other parts of the continent.
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