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Tuesday, Sep 05, 2006

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Lufthansa eyes expansion in western India

K.V. Kurmanath

Hyderabad , Sept. 4

After opening the eastern sector in December by adding Kolkata on its map, Lufthansa will probably focus on the western India to add capacity or expand to other locations in that region.

Besides, the German airline is also exploring setting up maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in India.

Mr Werner Heesen, Director (South Asia) of Lufthansa, said that the airline was looking at areas that were not served properly.

"Western India is one of the areas. We would like to add more capacity in that part of India," he said.

Mr Heesen was here to take part in the 55th edition of Travel Agents Association of India's (TAAI) convention.

He said Indian operations contributed 21 per cent of its Asia-Pacific revenues.

Asked whether under-pricing was hurting the industry, he felt that it was the question of yield mix that one should look at.

"If you are only focussing on low-yield segment and lowest fare, then it will hit you," he pointed out.

It was not Lufthansa's policy. "Our policy is to serve the upper end of the market," he said.

Long-term outlook

Asked about infrastructure constraints, he said increases in the aviation sector on yearly basis were dramatic as India's share in the global aviation sector was as low as 0.1 per cent.

But the Civil Aviation Ministry had understood the needs and it took the right decisions.

"In the long term, we have a solution. But for the mid term, the country needed to struggle with the existing facilities," he said.

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