Al-Ahram Weekly Online   30 October - 5 November 2008
Issue No. 920
Sky High
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

50 years over the Pyramids

Europe's top German carrier celebrates fifty years of active presence into Egypt with more plans to expand cooperation with the national carrier, reports Amirah Ibrahim

Lufthansa is one of the oldest foreign airlines to operate flights from Europe to Egypt. The regional director, Klaus Fussi, highlighted the long term ties between Egypt and Lufthansa, which currently operates 17 weekly flights between Frankfurt and Cairo, and 3 flights linking Frankfurt to Alexandria. "Lufthansa is the only European Airline operating direct flights between Frankfurt and Alexandria," Fussi noted.

"These flights are serving businessmen and tourists, thus making Lufthansa a key tool boosting the bilateral economic ties between Egypt and Germany. This is seen in increase in trade between the two countries to 2.1 billion euros in 2007. This includes 485 million euros in Egyptian exports to Germany and 1.615 billion euros in German exports to Egypt," Fussi explained, also noting the 453 million euros in direct German investments in Egypt.

"Such favourable economic conditions boost Lufthansa's status as the leading European carrier in the Egyptian market," Fussi said, saying that Lufthansa is bringing a large number of Germen tourists to Egypt every year. More than one million German tourists visited Egypt in 2007, and this number is expected to increase this year.

The top Lufthansa official also hailed the Egyptian government's efforts to improve the infrastructure of the travel sector, citing the huge funds invested by Egypt in this vital field.

Fussi highlighted the on-going successful cooperation between Lufthansa and EgyptAir, referring to their code-share deal recently signed by both airlines.

"The code-sharing is being introduced on EgyptAir's daily services from Cairo to Frankfurt and Munich, and Lufthansa's double daily services from Cairo to Frankfurt as well as on its three weekly flights from Alexandria to Frankfurt. This brings the total to 31 code- share flights being operated by both carriers," he explained.

According to the German official, commercial cooperation between both carriers is planned to cover other domestic and international destinations in the future. "We are looking forward to moving to the new terminal TB3 at Cairo International airport, together with EgyptAir and the rest of the Star Alliance airlines."

The German carrier is fling to 15 new destinations in the 2008 summer schedule, offering more routes and flights. "There are more than 200 new destinations worldwide, 37 new routes in 81 countries. We are expanding our route network with new destinations to more than 2000 flights daily to provide our customers with the widest choice of connections," he indicated.

As to the financial status of the carrier, during the first six months of 2008, the group increased its operating results to 705 million euros, up 219 million euros compared to the same period in 2007.

The German carrier was voted the best airline in Europe in the 2008 World Airline Awards, topping 59 airlines. More than 15 million passengers took part in the survey, conducted by the UK-based aviation research agency Skytrax from August 2007-June 2008.

According to Fussi, Lufthansa is due to receive the German Marketing Prize for 2008, awarded to it by the German Marketing Association, which since 1973 had made this top award annually. The prize will be presented to Lufthansa in Munich on October 29th.

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