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Sky-high airport charges in India is a concern: Lufthansa

Last updated on: June 05, 2014 15:56 IST

Sky-high airport charges in India is a concern: Lufthansa

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Shaheen Mansuri

German carrier Lufthansa has been operating flights in India for the past 55 years and it has faced tough situations with regards to strict aviation policies and high tax structures.  

But these factors have never dampened the airline’s spirits to expand operations in the Indian sub-continent.  

With 46 weekly flights to Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune and Chennai, the airline is keen to enhance flight frequencies when it’s bilateral agreement comes up for renewal with the Indian government.

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Image: Lufthansa is keen to expand operations in India.
Photographs: Courtesy, Lufthansa

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Sky-high airport charges in India is a concern: Lufthansa

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Wolfgang Will, the newly appointed South Asia Director of Lufthansa believes, India is an interesting market where fliers don’t mind paying for premium services offered on-board.  

However, the airline ensures that its fares are competitive and not very steep compared to global carriers like Emirates, British Airways and Cathay Pacific which also have significant presence in India.

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Image: Currently, Lufthansa operates 46 weekly flights to India.
Photographs: Courtesy, Lufthansa

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Sky-high airport charges in India is a concern: Lufthansa

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Though he did not have numbers to share on revenue growth and passenger load factors for India, Will says, Lufthansa’s business is growing at 4-5 per cent in India.  

Will is quite satisfied with the modest growth in India. Since Lufthansa caters mostly to business class travellers, its focus is on improving the quality of travel.  

Hence next month it will introduce the world’s longest aircraft- Boeing 747-8 with an elegant business class on its Indian network.

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Image: Lufthansa says, airlines should focus on cutting costs.
Photographs: Courtesy, Lufthansa

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Sky-high airport charges in India is a concern: Lufthansa

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Lufthansa is also likely to introduce the super jumbo Airbus-A-380 in India during the winter schedule this year to cater to the growing air traffic to various European destinations.  

When asked why Lufthansa did not evince interest in picking up stake in Indian carriers when the government relaxed FDI policy in aviation around two year back, Will said, “As a policy Lufthansa is not looking at investment in other carriers, albeit the carrier remains committed in spending significant amount on upgrading passenger services."

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Image: Lufthansa remains committed to enhance services for business class travellers.
Photographs: Courtesy, Lufthansa

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Sky-high airport charges in India is a concern: Lufthansa

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However, the exorbitant rise in landing and parking charges at Indian airports is a concern for Will, but he says, the fee is at par with international standard. 

Airlines should focus on cutting cost, rather than complaining about high taxes prevalent in most of the countries as aviation has always been a highly regulated sector globally.

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Image: German carrier Lufthansa has been operating flights in India for the past 55 years.
Photographs: Courtesy, Lufthansa

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Sky-high airport charges in India is a concern: Lufthansa

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Will also cleared the air about Lufthansa creating hurdles for Air India’s entry into Star Alliance three years back, as was reported in the media.  

He candidly said, “Lufthansa is a founding member of Star and it never stopped Air India. The carrier could not join the alliance in 2011 as it had to sort out issues pertaining to its merger with erstwhile Indian Airlines before becoming a member.”  

Star Alliance is the world’s largest airlines alliance with over 200 airlines under its umbrella.

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Image: Lufthansa is also likely to introduce the superjumbo Airbus-A-380 on Indian destinations during the winter schedule this year.
Photographs: Courtesy, Lufthansa

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Sky-high airport charges in India is a concern: Lufthansa

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Air India is now all set to join Star Alliance next month, he added and Lufthansa is mentoring the entire process, he said  

Will did not offer comments on what he expects from the new Indian government but he never paused to say, “In the past five decades we have survived governments.”


Image: Lufthansa believes, India is an interesting market where fliers don't mind paying for premium services offered on-board.
Photographs: Courtesy, Lufthansa

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