• Lufthansa has no plans to buy equity in Indian carriers, says CEO Spohr

    German airline Lufthansa will soon start operating the Airbus A-350, the latest aircraft in its fleet, between Mumbai and Munich, Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Executive Board and Chief Executive Officer, Lufthansa Group said on Wednesday.

    On February 11 this year, Delhi became the first destination in Lufthansa’s global network to which the A-350 was deployed when its maiden flight landed from Munich.

    The Airbus A-350 is considered one of the most modern long-haul aircraft as its average jet fuel consumption of 2.9 litres per passenger per 100 km means 25 per cent less fuel than any other comparable aircraft type, airline officials said.

    Addressing a press conference here, Spohr also announced that Brussels Airlines will start operating between Brussels and Mumbai. Lufthansa recently acquired stake in Brussels Airlines. Besides, Lufthansa will also christen one of its Airbus A-380 aircraft ‘Delhi’ and increase the frequency of flights between Pune and Germany, Spohr announced. The start of the Brussels Airlines flight to Mumbai and the naming of the Airbus A-380 after Delhi are expected in March this year.

    “The first thing that we do after buying Brussels Airlines is to help them fly to India,” Spohr announced, adding that naming one of the few Airbus A-380s that Lufthansa has as ‘Delhi’ points to the Capital as a hub and India as a market for the airline.

    “At this point we are not approaching any other airline to enter the Star Alliance,” the CEO said in response to a question on whether he would be talking to any Indian airline about handholding it to enter the Star Alliance, adding that he would be meeting with his counterpart in AI on Thursday to look at ways of “intensifying” the Indian carrier’s membership in the Alliance.

    The CEO ruled out the Lufthansa Group buying equity in an Indian airline saying that the focus of the German company was on airlines in Europe and that this would continue.

    Asked whether the recent three-year tie-up finalised between Etihad and Lufthansa will impact the Indian market, Spohr said, “Etihad group is an investor in Jet Airways so when we look to intensify our cooperation with Etihad we will also look to enhancing the bilateral relationship between Jet Airways and Lufthansa, which already exists but could offer room for more.”

    Spohr also announced that Lufthansa’s recently launched international low-cost airline will operate to India. Although he declined to specify by when this would happen, he did indicate the possibility of the low-cost airline looking at flights between Germany and Goa.

    “Germans love to go to Goa. There is no direct service. So we can look at these kinds of destinations,” he said. Lawson Crouse Jersey

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