Germany’s flag carrier Lufthansa, which operates a record number of 24 flights a week on Saudi-German sector, has launched a $50 billion fleet expansion plan. This fleet expansion project will enable Lufthansa to acquire 295 latest-version of airplanes, including ultramodern Boeing 777-9x and new airbus A350-900 in a staggered schedule until 2025.
This was stated by Harald Hahn, Lufthansa’s director for Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Yemen, here Tuesday. Hahn was speaking at a ceremony organized by Lufthansa with Air Canada and United (a major American airline) to award travel agents, who performed exceptionally better in promoting the products and services of the three carriers.
The event was attended by top-notch aviation industry leaders, a large number of local travel agents and media representatives. Eric Miller, United’s regional manager; Medwin Coutinho, Air Canada sales manager; and Naseem Uddin, head of marketing and business development of Lufthansa, were also present, besides Hahn.
Referring to the fleet expansion plan with special reference to Lufthansa’s expanding operation in Saudi Arabia, Hahn said: “Lufthansa is operating its largest ever schedule from the Kingdom providing first choice travel flexibility to customers flying to Frankfurt or Munich and beyond.” The airline has increased its services between Dammam and Frankfurt to a daily flight recently, he added.
Additionally, Lufthansa flies daily between Jeddah and Frankfurt, daily between Riyadh and Frankfurt and three times weekly between Riyadh and Munich, he noted. “We are carefully watching the development in every region of Saudi Arabia with regards to the air traffic and as soon as we see the need to expand our network to Saudi Arabia, we will certainly do it again,” he added.
Asked about the trends in the Saudi market, especially in terms of passenger loads, he said: “The traffic between Saudi Arabia and Germany is increasing consistently as also the traffic between the Kingdom and the Europe as a whole.” He stated that Germany has become a very attractive holiday destination for health services and for higher studies. “To my mind, the part of leisure-driven travel is constantly increasing from Saudi Arabia,” he added.
On regional level, he said, the Middle East has been one of the key regions for expansion shortly after Lufthansa became airborne in April 1955. “Today, more than 140 flights a week are operated from 14 airports of the region to Europe and beyond,” said the Lufthansa chief, while adding that the focus of the German carrier is more on the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
Hahn added that the German carrier has launched a new premium economy section. Under this project, the Lufthansa’s long-haul premium economy seat will be fitted on its entire long-haul B747-8 fleet by Dec.10. The new seats will be located in a “clearly identifiable” separate premium economy compartment between business and economy.
Each premium economy area will contain between 21 and 52 seats, depending on the aircraft type. Again depending on the aircraft, the seats will be up to 3 cm wider and have approximately 10 cm more room at the side as each one has its own wide armrest and a center console between the seats. The premium economy ticket prices will be “closer to economy class than business class,” he noted.

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