Saturday, April 17, 2010

Lufthansa canceled Pune-Frankfurt flights till April 25

PUNE: German airliner Lufthansa has suspended its Pune-Frankfurt direct flight service for a week, till April 25, to facilitate refurbishment of the Boeing 737 aircraft it has been operating on this route.

A Lufthansa spokesperson confirmed the suspension of flight service while speaking to TOI on Friday.

"We have not accepted passenger bookings for the flights that were otherwise scheduled for April 18, 20 and 23," she said, adding, "The service would resume from April 25."

The week-long break has been necessitated by the need to change the flight interiors as well as the class configuration from the all-business class, which Lufthansa was operating on the Pune-Frankfurt route till recently, to a combination of business and econ-omy class arrangement, she said.

The Pune-Frankfurt flight remains one of the two international serv-ices being operated from the city's Lohegaon airport.

It was intro-duced in June 2008 with Lufthansa operating a B-737 aircraft for an initial capacity of 50 all-business class seats, which was subsequently raised to 56 seats.

Earlier this year, Lufthansa announced a major change in the flight frequency by curtailing the number of days of operation from six to three days a week. The change came into force from March 29 follow-ing the Airports Authority of India's new schedule of flights for this summer.

The service has since been operating on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sun-days with the flight landing at Pune from Frankfurt at 3.50 am and taking off for Frankfurt at 5.15 am.

Lufthansa's director for south-Asia region Axel Hilgers, while an-nouncing here the change in flight frequency, had said the aircraft interiors and class configuration too was being altered to enhance the seat capacity from all business 56 to a combination of 32 business and 60 economy class seats.

The changes were spurred by the need to make the Pune-Frankfurt route profitable and simultaneously retain competitiveness.

Lufthansa draws a bulk of its business on the Pune-Frankfurt route from corporate travellers considering that Pune is home to several major German companies, including Mercedes Benz and Volkswagen, besides Indian corporates in the infotech (IT), automo-tive, auto-component and manufacturing segments, among others.

A senior official at the Pune airport also confirmed the suspension of Pune-Frankfurt flights till April 25.