German national carrier Lufthansa continues to consider Asia as a strong market. “It would be wrong to say that Asia will not be affected by the ongoing financial crisis. The region does not yet feel the full impact of it,” said Mr. Uwe H.W. Mueller, vice president, Asia & Pacific Lufthansa. The German national carrier remains the largest European carrier in the region and continues to add new destinations every year. Earlier this year, Lufthansa started new flights to Nanjing and Shenyang in China and Pune in India. “We are the only European carrier serving these destinations, as well as Pusan in South Korea,” said Mr. Mueller.
Lufthansa is also adding more frequencies, looking at serving Asia’s largest cities with double-daily flights. Mr. Mueller pointed out that Lufthansa has been adding a second daily flight, from both Munich and Frankfurt. The most recent addition to Munich’s network has been Singapore. “It gives our customers more flexibility and choice,” Lufthansa’s Asia Pacific boss said.
The airline has built up Munich to be the second-largest hub after Frankfurt. With more European destinations served out of Munich than Frankfurt, he described Munich as an “excellent choice” for Asian travelers visiting Europe. The recently added Munich-Singapore flight also allows European travelers to connect quickly to SIA’s network to Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and other Asia Pacific cities.
Lufthansa today serves seven destinations in India, six destinations in China (including Hong Kong), three in Japan, and two in South Korea. In Southeast Asia, the German carrier flies non-stop to Bangkok and Singapore. It also serves Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, and Kuala Lumpur.
“Our capacity is very well-adapted to market needs in Southeast Asia,” said Mr. Mueller. “We do not plan to add more frequencies or destinations in the near future to the region.” Lufthansa may, however, boost its capacity to Hong Kong by next year by using a larger aircraft.
The airline is also looking at Japan. “Enhanced air movement at both Tokyo Haneda and Narita airports from 2010 will certainly translate into new opportunities for us,” predicted Mr. Mueller.