Lufthansa Group recently appointed a new Senior Director Sales North Africa, Near East, and Turkey, Silke Wobken who has been overseeing these regions with Lufthansa’s General Manager Sales Egypt Sadiq Mohamed, on her team since July. Daily News Egypt interviewed both to learn about the company’s updates and discuss upcoming news future plans.in the market.
We knew in a previous interview that Lufthansa intended to operate the Airbus A330 on the Cairo-Frankfurt route from 1 July to 30 September, offering passengers more seats on this route. What are the updates and outcomes of the new aircraft?
Mohamed: Between 1 July and 30 September, Lufthansa operated an Airbus A330 aircraft on the route Frankfurt-Cairo, which was fully booked and met our expectations. Our passengers were
surprised and enjoyed the Lufthansa long haul business and economy classes’ products on board.
We received a lot of positive customer feedback requesting Lufthansa to offer a similar product next summer.
What about the popularity of the company’s flights to the Red Sea region?
Mohamed: Our flights to and from the Red Sea, that we started last year, have been stable, and we continue to operate flights to both Hurghada and Marsa Alam cities.
How does the recent increase in oil prices affect your business? Did you increase ticket prices?
Mohamed: In principle, our prices are determined primarily based on supply and demand, and at the end of the day the final price depends on the customer. In the airline industry, the customer has the choice. If the price-quality relationship is not satisfying, we will not be competitive on the long run.
Can you tell us about the company’s modernisation process of its fleet?
Wobken: As a leading European aviation group, Lufthansa continues modernising its fleet, which is one of the biggest projects at the moment. In 2017, we received a new aircraft nearly every week of the year, while in 2018, we received a new aircraft every two weeks. Right now, the Lufthansa Group has over 763 aircrafts in our modern fleet, and we continue investing billions of dollars into ordering even more state-of-the-art long and short haul aircraft, so we can remain modern and environmentally friendly. Specifically by 2027, we will receive 221 brand new aircrafts. Among the ordered aircraft are 40 ultra-modern long-haul aircrafts, including 20 Boeing 787-9 and 20 Airbus A350-900 aircraft with a total investment of $12bn. We have also ordered the new Boeing 777-x which will include our new Business Class seat that allows every passenger to have direct access to the aisle. For our short-haul routes, Lufthansa will also be receiving 27 more A320neo & A321neo in 2023. All of these aircrafts produce less CO2 emissions, are quieter, and have lower operating costs.
What is the company’s market share in Egypt?
Mohamed: Lufthansa has been operating in Egypt for over 60 years and welcome fair and free competition.
What about Lufthansa’s efforts in lowering CO2 emissions?
Wobken: The Lufthansa Group stands for responsible mobility and does everything it can do to limit the environmental impact of flying, and taking responsibility for the environment are among its core pillars. The airline has not only increased its fuel efficiency by 41% since 1990, but they set a new efficiency record. In 2018, the Lufthansa Group passenger airlines only used 3.65 litres of kerosene to fly a passenger 100 km, the lowest figure in the history of the company. By continuing to renew our fleet, the airline was able to reduce 1.5m tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. Furthermore, the emissions will continue to reduce as the fleet becomes more modern and environment friendly.
Since September 2007, Lufthansa and Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) have been offering their passengers the opportunity to offset the unavoidable CO2 emissions caused by their flights with a donation to myclimate [a non-profit climate protection organisation based in Switzerland], thus making a personal contribution to climate protection. The emissions calculator is operated by the myclimate foundation and can directly assign the corresponding average CO2 emissions to the respective flight. If desired, the CO2 calculator can also take into account the different seat classes by weighting the emissions according to the space required by a seat. The partnership with myclimate ensures that the donated amount always flows directly into climate protection projects that meet the highest standards and make a positive contribution to sustainable development in addition to CO2 reduction.
Since the beginning of this year, all air travel by Lufthansa Group employees has been CO2-neutral and the resulting CO2 emissions are offset by myclimate.
Recently, the Lufthansa Innovation Hub launched the “Compensaid” sustainability platform which allows anyone flying on any airline to offset their CO2 emissions. The customer has a choice of offsetting the flight through investment in a myclimate project or to invest in sustainable aviation fuels that are to be used on a Lufthansa flight within six months of donation.
The Lufthansa Group will convert its ground ops services in its home markets Germany, Austria, and Switzerland to a CO2-neutral operation by 2030. This includes converting the vehicles to an electric or other emission-free drive and purchasing 100% green electricity at the earliest possible moment. Also, for all buildings of the Lufthansa Group, only green electricity will be used wherever possible.
As global aviation is a growth industry, reducing specific fuel consumption is not enough to stop the increase in CO2 emissions from aviation. Therefore, in October 2016, the international offsetting system Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) was adopted at the UN level by the aviation organization International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which will take effect from 2021, supported by the Lufthansa Group. The way CORSIA works: If more CO2 is emitted on international flights in the future than in 2020, these additional burdens must be offset by financing climate protection projects. The Lufthansa Group strongly supports the climate protection strategy already agreed worldwide in 2009 by airlines, aircraft manufacturers, air navigation services, and airports. According to this strategy, fuel efficiency is to be increased by 1.5% per year, growth in air traffic is to be CO2-neutral from 2020, and net CO2 emissions from aviation are to be reduced by 50% by 2050 compared to 2005.
On 20 September, there were some political incidents in Egypt, do you have any concerns regarding this issue; especially as your company has previously suspended flights to Egypt?
Mohamed: Today, all five Lufthansa Group carriers – Australian Airlines, Lufthansa, Swiss Airlines, Eurowings, Brussels Airline – are operating in Egypt which give our Egyptian customers access to our worldwide network of destinations in 102 countries. Egypt remains an important market for the Lufthansa Group and we will continue operating in the region. Of course, the safety of our passengers and employees are the number one priority at all times. As a reliable and safe airline, we continue to operate as usual, working closely with the Egyptian Civil Aviation Authority to ensure a smooth operation.
Among the ordered aircrafts are 40 ultra-modern long-haul aircrafts including 20 Boeing 787-9 and 20 Airbus A350-900 aircrafts with a total investment of $12bn