India is an opportunity, looking to expand operations: Lufthansa CEO

Lufthansa Group CEO Carsten Spohr said on Sunday that the airline group is working closely with Air India as well as expanding its operations in the country.

“We have strengthened our position in the Indian market. We believe we can do more… fly more, a new partnership with Air India which is a different company than it was before to increase our market share,” he said.

He said during a media briefing on the sidelines of the annual general meeting of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and global air transport, that the group has a two-pronged strategy for India and one pillar is to expand operations into the country. The top is here.

“We have just announced the reopening of the Frankfurt-Hyderabad (service) which we had to close a few years ago. We will also be for the first time serving Bangalore from Munich…

“We are using our aircraft and operations to expand into India,” he said.

The second pillar, he said, is to work more closely with Air India, adding that now, with new leadership, Tata and Singapore Airlines behind it, “we can do more with Air India.”

Lufthansa and Air India are part of the Star Alliance.

While noting that India is the latest favorite country, Spoor said that the Lufthansa Group has been very successful in India in the past years.

The Lufthansa Group, which has been in the Indian market for more than 90 years, currently has more than 50 weekly services to India, connecting Frankfurt, Zurich and Munich to various Indian cities, including Delhi and Mumbai.

To inquire about bilateral flight rights, Spohr said that at this time the Lufthansa Group has sufficient traffic rights except for codeshare and traffic linkage rights.

He remarked, “I look at India as an opportunity…we’ve done good business…the wealth of the Indian upper middle class looks at Europe as a way to spend.”

In April, the group said it would start flights on the Munich-Bangalore and Frankfurt-Hyderabad routes this year as it looks to capitalize on post-Covid growth opportunities in the Indian aviation market.

Flights on the Munich-Bangalore route will operate three times a week with the first flight on November 3.

On the Frankfurt-Hyderabad route, flights will start next winter.

At the time, Lufthansa said it intended to make the most of India’s untapped growth opportunities – especially in the post-Covid era – by providing consumers with the best travel experiences during their international flights, whether for business or leisure.

The Lufthansa Group includes the airline network, Eurowings and airline services sectors.

Worldwide, the Group has 1,09,509 employees and generated revenues of €32,770 million in the 2022 financial year.

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