Lufthansa Readies Eurowings for India Launch
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Europe's leading airline, Lufthansa, is set to send its long-haul low-cost regional carrier, Eurowings, to select destinations in India amid intense competition with Gulf-based airlines.
The move marks the first time a European airline has launched a budget carrier in the Indian sub-continent.
However, Lufthansa has no plans to acquire stake in any Indian carriers.
"They (Gulf carriers) are everywhere in India. It will become difficult for us to enter into tie-ups with airlines in India because of the big presence of Gulf carriers there," said Lufthansa Group senior vice president and chief strategy officer Sadiq Gillani.
Eurowings, which will offer competitive fares, according to Gillani, will fly mostly A330s offering a choice between standard economy and premium economy class. The latter class offers an experience somewhere in between economy and business class and was recently launched by Lufthansa.
The launch of premium economy cost the German carrier about €100 million ($105.8 million).
But so far the premium economy has shown promise. It boasts a load factor of roughly 75 percent, with about one-third (35 percent) of economy class passengers opting for an upgrade to premium economy.
According to TTGAsia.com, the carrier's recently unveiled intercontinental flights to the Caribbean, Dubai and Thailand will depart from Cologne Bonn Airport starting on Oct. 25.
"From the winter flight plan 2015/16 onwards, the new route network will include Dubai, Bangkok, Phuket, as well as the Caribbean destinations of Varadero and Punta Cana," states the TTGAsia.com news release.
"Our new Eurowings strategy is to strengthen our position in point-to-point traffic," said Lufthansa CEO Karl Ulrich Garnadt in a statement. "The new Eurowings will tackle on long-haul routes with a new brand launch, affordable ticket prices and an attractive route network."
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