This year will be again a record year for Lufthansa in the GCC and the Middle East. Europe’s largest airline group expects more than 1,000,000 passengers from the whole region to travel to Germany, Europe and beyond. With larger aircraft operating from Dubai since summer and an expansion of flights from Saudi Arabia there are more seats available for local passengers but also Europeans to travel to the GCC. The latest figures reflect an increase of more than 10 per cent compared to 2012 and a trust bestowed on the airline specifically for its attractive fares on the premium services and easy connections.
“The potential of European travellers coming to Dubai and the UAE is larger than ever not only from the business sector but also for leisure travellers. With Lufthansa Holidays we have recently started a new offer in Germany which also brings more leisure travellers to the UAE”, said Carsten Schaeffer, Vice President Sales and Services Southeast Europe, Middle East and Africa at the Dubai Air Show. “Over 300,000 tourists from Germany will come in 2013 to Dubai – with our new initiative we will have a substantial share in this business”.
Highlight at this year’s Dubai Airshow is also the start of the new Boeing 777-9X program where Lufthansa is the first launch customer which signed a commitment letter. From 2020 34 Boeing 777-9X will join the fleet and purchase rights for another 30 are already agreed. The new airplane will be a perfect fit for markets with a high demand such as China, the USA or Dubai.
“Our commitment to the Boeing 777-9X and our position as launch customer are a convincing result of over 50 years of cooperation with Boeing. From the Boeing 707 in the 60s, the first Jumbo Jet, the amazing Boeing 737 or lately the new Boeing 747-8, we have a very special cooperation which is not only to the benefit of our two companies but also millions of passengers – every day”, added Schaeffer.
Looking at the Middle East Lufthansa’s network will grow further. With more than 140 weekly flights from 14 destinations it is the largest program ever performed. Especially Saudi Arabia will see more flights with a new daily flight on the Dammam-Frankfurt route. These flights are joined by the 7 weekly flights each from Riyadh and Jeddah to Frankfurt and the three weekly flights from Riyadh to Munich. Already in 1960 Lufthansa started flights to the GCC with a flight from Dhahran on a four-(piston) engine Lockheed Super Constellation.
“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 saw another important milestone this year while celebrating 50 years of flying to Kuwait, which is one of our best performing routes, especially in premium class travel”, Carsten Schaeffer added.
Lufthansa’s First Class products received the 5-star award from Skytrax. On board, the Skytrax rating system singled out the superb comfort of the First Class cabin with ergonomically contoured seats, which convert into a fully flat, two-metre long bed. Lufthansa’s First Class cabin staff was also awarded for their onboard service quality. On ground, the First Class Terminal in Frankfurt was praised for its exclusive personal assistant service and the unbeatable food and spa selection.
“In addition to the even better network opportunities from the Middle East, Lufthansa committed itself to invest EUR 1million every day (excluding the new airplane orders) till 2015 in better ground and onboard services. New seats in all classes, individual inflight entertainment in Economy Class, innovative First Class and Business Class as well as brand new lounges, will help us define new industry standards,” explained Schaeffer. “Globally, our Group is on a fleet expansion and on order are another 295 airplanes, valued at more than 36 billion Euros at list prices and for delivery until 2025”.