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June 15, 2024
Lufthansa official feels Indian government decision not to exchange bilateral has a short term impact
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Harry Hohmeister, Member of the Executive Board and Head of Global Marketing and Network, Lufthansa, feels that the Indian government’s decision not to exchange air services bilaterals will have an effect in the short term. Direct services, partnerships, and code shares are key to Lufthansa’s growth strategy in India.

I think airlines are better off making partnerships as they understand that not one airline can generate a global network. It will be impossible. You can be strong in one region as the Lufthansa Group is strong in Europe, and most probably Air India will be strongest in India and so on. If you work together, I think it is always good.”.

He added that this was a solution strategically, and hence there was a requirement for code shares. The Lufthansa official was responding to a question from AirInsight on whether the reluctance of the Indian government to exchange bilaterals will impact the growth of the Lufthansa Group in India.  He further added that we need to respect the new situation and understand why it is there and what is the potential solution.

Jyotiraditya Scindia, the Indian Union Civil Aviation Minister, told Reuters recently that India was not looking to increase air traffic rights for UAE. In fact, apart from Russia, India has not granted any nation more air services bilateral rights in the past decade or so, although India and Canada entered into an open sky policy earlier this year.

Hohmeister, on a 24-hour visit to Delhi, also announced that Lufthansa would launch Munich to Bengaluru and Frankfurt to Hyderabad service. The Munich-Bengaluru route will start operations on November 3 this year with an Airbus 350-900 aircraft. The airline will announce the launch of the Hyderabad flight in May this year. Lufthansa earlier operated to Hyderabad but pulled out several years ago.

Asked why Lufthansa pulled out and was now returning to Hyderabad, he said that the pricing basis for all airlines is entirely different from three to five years ago. “The growth rate tells us that the inter-relations of the communities of India and Europe are now closer than it was before the Covid crisis, so there is more traveling. And I think we will focus more on the European traffic than before. So that is a different origin and destination mix,” Hohmeister said.

Market rumors were that Lufthansa withdrew the Hyderabad flight due to yields on the Europe-US sector, which were better than the Hyderabad-Europe sector forcing  Lufthansa’s hand when it withdrew the service.

When asked whether Lufthansa was looking to deepen its ties with AI, Hohmeister said, “Why not” adding that the “Group are restructuring the company, the company has a new management, great vision, they are redesigning their strategy.”

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Ashwini Phadnis
Former Senior Deputy Editor at Business Line (aka The Hindu Business Line)

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