Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Saturday, Feb 19, 2005
Lufthansa keen to build on multi-hub strategy
Mr Wolfgang Mayrhuber , Chairman and CEO of Lufthansa (third from left), along with his crew and officials s at a press conference in Hyderabad on Friday at the launch of the inaugural direct flight between Frankfurt and Hyderabad. A. Roy Chowdhury
Hyderabad , Feb. 18
GERMAN airliner Lufthansa is on an expansion drive in this region building on its multi-hub and partnership strategy and plans to launch operations in more India centres depending on the business potential.
Addressing a press conference here on Friday along with senior members of the company after the launch of the inaugural direct flight from Frankfurt to Hyderabad, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lufthansa, Mr Wolfgang Mayrhuber, said, "From thrice a week flights now, we expect to make it daily to Hyderabad at the earliest, given the clearance for landing rights and other issues. We are also in the process of considering flights to Kolkata and exploring other centres as well."
Asked on the possibility of the options of partnering domestic airlines, Mr Mayrhuber said that Lufthansa is keen to build its own base through the multi-hub strategy and concentrate on expanding the network adopting the partnership route both internationally with Star Alliance and with local players such as Indian Airlines, Jet and Sahara.
"Hyderabad is a very important addition to our network in India. We are now pleased to offer tourist and business people from southern India a very efficient new service which takes them directly to Frankfurt, which offers excellent connections around the whole of Europe and beyond.
Business travellers, particularly those in the tech sector and tourists comprise a major chunk of travellers to Europe and beyond and this connectivity will make it that much more convenient," he explained.
"With the addition of Hyderabad flight, Lufthansa now operates from five gateways, three in South along with Mumbai and Delhi. With this, Lufthansa operates 34 flights a week to India, more than any other European carrier and accounts for about 12 per cent of the Europe bound traffic," he said.
As a part of technology drive, Lufthansa, which carried 50 million passengers in 2004, would take to more technology adoption and be able to offer a truly enjoyable online ticketing experience with its Star Alliance partners.
"Along with the passenger business, Lufthansa sees a great potential for cargo operations. We currently operate about 21 flights and see an expanding role for transport and logistics services in the region," he said.
Lufthansa is 80 years old but has a 150-year-old child in Thomas Cook, where it holds about 50 per cent stake.
Narrating this interesting aspect of Lufthansa, Mr Mayrhuber said, "We are a funny organisation. Though we are about 80 years old, due to disruption during the World War, the resurgent carrier would be completing 50 years on April 1. However, we celebrate two birthdays, two months apart, one for the 50th anniversary, and one for 80th anniversary. However, we have a baby in Thomas Cook, which is 150 years old."
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