Lufthansa cancels India flights till Jan 1
Lufthansa has cut down its flights to India in the Christmas week as business travel slows down during this period. The German airline has 46 weekly flights from Frankfurt and Munich to Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Chennai and Bangalore.
Mumbai and Delhi are connected to both Frankfurt and Munich with daily flights while the other cities have flights only to Frankfurt. The airline's website does not display direct flights on Delhi-Munich and Mumbai-Frankfurt routes from Tuesday till January 1. On certain dates, both the flights from Mumbai and Delhi have been cancelled.
The airline did not respond to an email query on the issue but sources said the decision to cancel the India flights was taken some time last month after the winter schedule was finalised. "Booking is always low during this period," the source said.
According to an aviation expert, "All business travel comes to a standstill in the US and Europe during Christmas. Lufthansa is essentially seen as a businessman's carrier. The airline may have decided to curtail the flights due to this reason.
Even though there will be leisure travellers the yields will be low. Sometimes it is cheaper to transfer passengers to other airlines than operate a flight and incur a loss. Also the airline may have redeployed the aircraft on routes with high demand in this season."
A travel agent said the cancellations were pre-determined and will not impact passengers. The airline has intimated the passengers of cancellations and will accommodate them on its other flights and those of partner airlines.
The airline flies its newest Boeing 747-8 plane from Frankfurt-Delhi and Frankfurt-Bangalore routes. This plane has 8 first class, 92 business class and 262 economy class seats.
On other India routes, it flies an Airbus 330 or Airbus 340 and operates Boeing 737 to Pune. In fact Delhi is the first city in Asia to be connected with the Boeing 747 plane with all new business class.
Photographs: Johannes Eisele/Reuters