Lufthansa customers can now enjoy a completely new flight experience on short- and medium-haul routes. The group has now received its first A321neo in Frankfurt, which will be operated by Lufthansa. New on board: a new, improved seat for an even more comfortable travel experience, which is jointly introduced by the three Network Airlines, Lufthansa, SWISS and Austrian Airlines.
We spoke to Heinrich Lange, senior director sales, Gulf, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Lufthansa Group, for more.
What’s the biggest news from Lufthansa Group this year?
Closely aligned with our long-term strategy, we have sharpened our focus on fleet growth and modernisation to complement our efforts to expand and deepen our network and market presence. Accordingly, we have ordered a total of 40 state-of-the-art aircraft, including 20 Boeing 787-9 and 20 additional Airbus A350-900 planes. The new orders, which have a list-price investment volume of $12 billion and are expected to be delivered between late 2022 and 2027, will primarily replace our long-haul four-engine fleet.
The new investment also falls in line with our endeavours aimed at reducing costs and carbon footprints. The new generation, fuel-efficient, and low-noise aircraft will bring down operating costs around 20 percent and significantly lower CO2 emissions.
Looking ahead at the next few months, does Lufthansa have any tentative plans to expand its network in the Middle East region? What areas will you be looking at, if at all?
Guided by our long-term network strategy, we have constantly strived to improve connectivity in the region. Our seven destinations in the GCC are well connected to our hubs, Frankfurt and Zurich, with 55 weekly frequencies and allow seamless access within Europe and North America. Additionally, our strong focus on capacity building has helped Lufthansa Group to strengthen its reputation as the leading Western European carrier in the region with 4 per cent increased offered seats. It has also enabled us to achieve double-digit passenger growth in this market.
It is worth highlighting that we enhanced our flight offering in Saudi Arabia over the last 12 months as we marked the 50th anniversary of connecting Jeddah and Frankfurt. We increased our seat capacity between the two destinations by 33 per cent and also improved timings of our flight from Riyadh. We will continue to explore new opportunities to further our offerings with a view to catering to the evolving needs of our guests and fortifying our presence in the market.
How has Lufthansa performed in the Middle East so far this year?
The Middle East continues to be one of our growth markets with a sustained increase in revenues that are driven by strong demand for passenger and cargo traffic. The region has been witnessing tremendous growth in inbound and outbound air travel, aided by the rise in disposable income of travellers, easing of travel barriers, and increased marketing efforts by international destinations. We have been keen on capitalising on this opportunity with our ever-growing connectivity, frequency, and capacity.
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