Lufthansa plans to increase capacity as travel demand grows

The Lufthansa Group is focused on increasing capacity in Thailand this year with the aim of reaching 61% of available seat kilometers achieved in 2019, thanks to a positive outlook for leisure travel demand.

Stefan Molnar, managing director for Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam and the Mekong region for Lufthansa Group Airlines, said the goal was achievable because the reopening of borders had created stronger demand.

The average load factor in Thailand in March and April rose to 79%, compared to just 33% for the whole of 2021.

“As Songkran arrives, people are starting to fly again, both arriving and departing, leading to an optimistic outlook for this year,” Molnar said.

The Lufthansa Group is considered the largest European airline group in Thailand, with its carriers including Lufthansa, Austrian, Swiss, Brussels Airlines and Eurowings.

Mr Molnar said the group now offers daily Lufthansa flights from Bangkok to Munich from March 28, daily flights via Austrian Airlines to Vienna and four weekly flights to Zurich with Swiss.

Flights to Zurich will be increased to five and then six per week in June and July respectively.

Meanwhile, Edelweiss Air’s Zurich-Phuket route will resume in the upcoming 2022/23 winter schedule.

Mr Molnar said the easing of RT-PCR testing ahead of arrival on April 1 was a good start, ahead of Thailand easing further throughout this year.

Sabrina Winter, Lufthansa’s sales manager for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said leisure travel and the “visiting friends and relatives” segment, especially on short-haul and transatlantic flights , led the recovery.

However, the enterprise segment remains slow with only incremental improvements.

The group currently operates a fleet of 713 aircraft, compared to 757 aircraft at the end of 2020, and serves 320 destinations.

Global Easter and summer bookings are slightly above pre-pandemic levels.

Last year, its global passenger count stood at 47 million, a 29% increase from 2020.

Ms Winter said the group had implemented sustainable cost savings for 2020-24, with a savings target of 3.5 billion euros.

The company has currently achieved 2.7 billion euros in savings through measures such as reducing labor costs and operational optimization.

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