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'War won't stop us from flying'
January 29, 2003 14:35 IST
The German carrier Lufthansa on Wednesday said it will circumvent the conflict zone but will not stop flying to India in the event of a war in the Gulf.
Lufthansa, which will add three more flights a week to Chennai from April 2 and is the number one European airline in India, has already taken steps to see that it is not affected by a war in the Gulf, the carrier's deputy chairman of the executive board and chief executive officer Wolfgang Mayrhuber said at a press conference.
Mayrhuber, who takes over the top post of chairman of Lufthansa in June, said, ''We can manage our routes by circumventing the area. It will mean a longer flight time but we will be able to keep to our schedules even if there is a crisis.''
Lufthansa, celebrating the 40th anniversary of its flights to India, sold 730,000 seats to and from India last year and is the only European airline which operates to four separate gateways- New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai. Its India operations contributed 13. 2 per cent of its revenues.
According to Manfred Reimer, vice president, Asia-Pacific, Lufthansa was hoping that at the next air bilateral talks between India and Germany more capacity would be added. ''Our request will be modest and steady,'' he said.
He said the airline was very interested in promoting tourism to India but needed additional capacity for this. The new bilateral agreement would look into this aspect, he said adding that the German carrier was already having discussions with Air India in this regard.
Mayrhuber said Lufthansa was the first international carrier to take advantage of the Indian government's open skies policy during the winter season, introducing three flights on the Bangalore-Frankfurt route from January to March.
The airline said its growth plan for Asia was way ahead of the others in frequency, capacity and seat offer terms. It would expand its joint ventures with Indian companies in passenger traffic, cargo, IT and ground handling, Reimer said.