Lufthansa plans to deepen ties with Air India – Times of India


Mumbai: The ‘Maximum City’ last week witnessed a high-profile meeting of global airline heads in India, when Tata Sons and Air India chairman N Chandrasekaran conferred simultaneously with Singapore Airlines (SIA) CEO Goh Choon Phong and Lufthansa Group chairman & CEO Carsten Spohr to chalk out the Maharaja’s ambitious expansion plans. While SIA will hold 25.1% stake in the new AI, the German mega carrier plans to deepen the existing partnership with the Maharaja in several areas, including an expansion of code shares and potentially including engineering & aviation training.
“India has not had an adequate seat at the (global) aviation table in the past. AI with SIA on one side (east) and Lufthansa Group (west) has potential for something big that can change Indian aviation. As a partner it would be a privilege for us to help bring AI to its rightful place on the global stage. AI deserves it. India deserves it,” Spohr, who as a Lufthansa pilot flew the Airbus A340 to Bengaluru several times between 2001 and 2006, told TOI.
According to him, the current high demand could enable the new AI “to redefine its role” in the Indian market in the long term.
“Until now, too much traffic between India and Europe and the US used other hubs; for example, in the Gulf region. India and its flagship carrier AI should have a higher share of their own aviation market, one that will become the largest in the world,” said Spohr.
India and AI are also “well-positioned” to be a further hub and a hub airline for traffic between Southeast Asia, the Southwest Pacific, and Europe. “We (AI, SIA and Lufthansa) are a very strong triangle,” added Spohr. Lufthansa Group has deep ties with US giant United and will talk to them “about possibly turning it to a rectangle”.
He added, “It helps to have a strong partner in US market to be successful.”
Lufthansa Group is also looking at other business opportunities with the new AI. “We own a very large aviation training company for flight attendants and pilots… I can see many growth opportunities. If AI is looking for engineering support, Lufthansa Technik could possibly provide it,” Spohr said.
Airline partnerships usually grow slowly, starting with mutual access to each other’s frequent flyer programmes, followed by code-share flights, joint fares, and can potentially lead to a joint venture, including “metal neutrality” where partner airlines act as though they were one.
Spohr is planning to be back in Mumbai with his top management team in March.


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *