Lufthansa overcomes turbulence


Lufthansa German airlines says its Gulf operations have returned to normal.

Its vice president, sales and service, south east Europe, Middle East and Pakistan, Uwe Muller says the airline's regional operations have pulled through the turbulence caused by the September 11 attacks in the US.

He said that the airline had restored frequencies on the Gulf sector which had been cut after September 11 and Lufthansa now offers daily non-stop service to Dubai, four flights a week to Abu Dhabi, three to Muscat.

"We really did not cut flights. We reduced the frequencies," said Muller.

He said the airline had also resumed near normal traffic on the Saudi Arabian route after combining flights to Jeddah and Riyadh.

Muller said the airline had maintained operations to all 12 destinations it flies to in the Middle East.

Although tourist traffic, particularly inbound Gulf, remained affected, business traffic had picked up, said Muller.

He said although he did not see any change in the tourist traffic over the next two or three months, he expected a recovery in the winter this year.

Lufthansa began its Gulf operations 25 years ago when it began using Dubai as a transfer point for flights to Singapore and even as far as Tokyo.

In 2001, Lufthansa carried 1,600,000 passengers of which 21 per cent travelled in first and business class and 79 per cent in economy.

The airline which has confirmed order for a new super Airbus A380 plans to increase flights to Dubai next winter.

Lufthansa which ranks as the number one carrier in Europe and number two worldwide is a member of the Star Alliance, a group of 14 airlines worldwide.

Together with its Star Alliance partners, Lufthansa recently launched a special promotion offering travellers already flying to Europe, an opportunity to purchase additional flights to over 40 destinations within Europe at a discounted coupon price.

Flights can be booked with any Star Alliance member flying to popular European countries, giving passengers living outside Europe a chance to explore the continent.

The cost of the Europe airpass coupons will depend on the number of miles customers choose to travel. The cost will start at as little as $60 for travel up to 150 miles and "the further you fly," the more the airpass will cost".

It also recently announced the launch of a new online service for its frequent flyer Miles and More programme, enabling members to trade miles for flight tickets and take advantage of last minute special fares and other awards on Lufthansa's InfoFlyway site,

The airline was voted as the safest carrier in 2001 by readers of the Business Traveller Deutschland magazine adding to its impressive record of achievements.