ATM: Lufthansa upbeat about growth in numbers and comfort for Middle East routes
European airline group Lufthansa is a the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai this week where it is giving a positive outlook on the 2014/2015 travel season for its business in the Middle East.
The airline said that more than 1.7 million passengers were welcomed onboard the group members Lufthansa, SWISS and Austrian aircraft on the route network to and from the Middle East. This reflects a growth of more than 5% compared to the previous year. All in all the Lufthansa Group offered flights to more than 104 million passengers in 2013.
The largest growth has been generated in the premium segment, especially in first and business class. In both compartments, Lufthansa has introduced new seats and services.. In one of largest retrofit programmes in the industry, more than 7,000 business class seats are being installed on over 100 long-haul aircraft and will be complete by summer 2015. The retrofit on first class is almost complete now.
“The premium growth in the UAE has been impressive over the last months with more sales potential at the horizon. Our GCC passengers – being loyal to our group for more than 50 years – can be assured that Lufthansa will day by day improve the service that we are known for and take them to their destinations in utmost convenience and comfort“, said Karsten Zang, Lufthansa’s new general manager UAE. ”
Lufthansa’s network is also likely to grow further, Zang said. It already has more than 140 weekly flights from 14 destinations in the region.
The German airline has a long history with the region. On 12 September 1956 Lufthansa started flights to and from Tehran being the airline’s first destination in the Middle East. In 1960, Saudi Arabia followed with a flight from Dhahran on a four-(piston) engine Lockheed Super Constellation. In Kuwait, Lufthansa celebrated its 50th anniversary last year.
“We are looking back on more than 50 years of flying to the Middle East and right after the start of Lufthansa in 1955, this region became very important for being connected to Europe and America - building on this heritage is an important pillar of our services here. We will soon see more important milestones till we are celebrating 60 years of flying to the region,” Karsten Zang added.
New highlights to be introduced this year will be Lufthansa’s new Premium Economy Class on all long-haul airplanes. It has designed a high-quality seat that offers much greater comfort and up to 50 per cent more room in this class. The quality of food on offer will also be higher than in Economy Class. The use of porcelain tableware in particular will make a noticeable difference. Passengers in premium economy will also be able to take a second item of luggage with them at no extra charge. Tickets will be available for sale this month, and the first flight is planned for October. – on the Boeing 747-8. The installation of Premium Economy should be complete by the end of 2015, at which point there will be a total of 3,600 seats in the cabins of the long-haul fleet.
PICTURED: The new business class on Lufthansa flights to the Middle East - the work is underway the company said at ATM today.