Lufthansa adds routes to China to spur growth
Berlin, March 8, 2012
German flagship carrier Deutsche Lufthansa said it was adding 61 connections in its summer timetable including new destinations like Shenyang and Qingdao in China, where demand for air travel is growing rapidly.
"Close to 16 million people live in the catchment area of Shenyang and Qingdao, equivalent to the population of the 20 biggest German cities," Jens Bischof, sales chief at Lufthansa's passenger airline business, told journalists on Thursday.
The region around Shenyang, about 700 kilometers from the capital Beijing, is rife with automobile and aircraft manufacturers as well as chemical companies and IT firms that drive economic growth there, Lufthansa said.
Qingdao, meanwhile, is home to China's third-largest port, making it a hub for the oil-refining industry and goods traffic, and also boasts beach resorts.
Lufthansa is also taking up routes from Germany to Knock in Ireland, France's Montpellier, Odessa in Ukraine and Pula in Croatia in the summer schedule that comes into effect on March 25 and ends on Oct. 27.
The move comes after Lufthansa halted services to Guangzhou in China, India's Kolkata and Hyderabad, Klagenfurt in Austria, Calgary in Canada and Bursa in Turkey because of the routes' lagging profitability.
Lufthansa on Wednesday said it made a net loss of 13 million euros ($17.1 million) in 2011, after taking a larger-than-expected charge on the sale of its British Midland unit, and would pay a dividend of 0.25 euros per share. – Reuters