Harro-Julius Petersen, general manager – passenger services and sales for Greece and Cyprus at Lufthansa speaks exclusively to Cyprus Traveller and tells us why the aviation giant remains committed to operating flights to and from the island.
CT: What routes is Lufthansa currently operating to and from Cyprus and how frequent are the flights?
Lufthansa offers passengers from Cyprus a convenient and seamless travel, currently with 13 weekly direct flights to its main hubs, Frankfurt and Munich, from where travellers can connect to more than 321 destinations in 103 countries and four continents. During the summer flight schedule, Cyprus is connected with Munich five times per week and with Frankfurt eight times per week. Also, Austrian Airlines, a member of the Lufthansa Group, offers 12 flights per week connecting Vienna with Larnaka.
CT: Lufthansa has a long history flying travellers to the island. What is it that makes these flights a long-term favourite with your passengers?
Cyprus is an important market for Lufthansa in the Mediterranean as it is a significant all-year-round destination for holiday and business travellers due to its strategic geographical position and warm climate. It is no wonder why we increase the flight frequency every summer in order to meet demand. This summer, German tourists showed an increased interest in spending their vacations on “Aphrodite’s Island”; only during August a 67.5 per cent increase in Germans visited Cyprus when compared to August 2014, and Lufthansa’s increased frequencies played an important role in this increase.
From March 31, 1982, since the Lufthansa Boeing 727 landed in Larnaka for the first time, millions of passengers have been transported taking the opportunity to expand their business and leisure horizons. Thus Lufthansa has played a major role in contributing immensely to the local economy and the international commercial affairs of Cyprus.
CT: When is the busiest period for your flights to Cyprus?
Cyprus is an attractive summer destination for Germans and all Europeans with this the busiest period for our flights. Additionally, Cyprus’ strategic geographic position close to Europe, the Middle East and North Africa and its EU membership, attracts a lot of business travellers all-year-round. Furthermore, by adding upcoming destinations, such as Panama City, a main hub of the exchange of marine crews, we are aiming to strengthen marine business since 50 per cent of Lufthansa Group’s issued tickets in Cyprus are in marine traffic.
CT: What is it that makes Cyprus an ideal destination for German travellers to visit?
German tourists love to spend their vacation in Cyprus as there are plenty of clean and attractive beaches as well as an interesting mainland and they are able to enjoy the sun at the same time. The infrastructure is of high quality with upgraded hotel facilities, a good road network and frequent air connectivity. During their stay on the island they also have the opportunity to get to know and admire the history of Cyprus visiting significant archaeological sites. At the same time modern living on the island offers a wide range of entertainment, art and cultural events and its gastronomy is a typical example of popular Mediterranean cuisine.
CT: Are there any upcoming developments that the Cyprus travel industry can expect from Lufthansa?
Lufthansa is part of a leading aviation group in Europe, committed to offer high quality services to its customers. New destinations are added each year creating an even denser network of routes in Europe, Asia, Africa and America, with seamless connections via its main hubs (Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna, Zürich, Brussels and Düsseldorf). Many new destinations across the American continent will be added next year with a focus on North Atlantic business and leisure destinations. Connectivity with Cyprus is ideal for travelling to Canada and the US, for example, Cypriots may fly to New York, via Frankfurt, with prices for October travel starting from €610.
Besides that, Lufthansa is introducing a new price concept for flights in Europe. The new Economy Class fare options “Light”, “Classic” and “Flex” for domestic and European flights (which apply from October 1, 2015), will offer different services depending on the price. For example, within Economy Class, passengers can select services according to their individual wishes. The booked fare can be complemented with additional services by individually adding further options. Thus passengers only pay for the services they actually make use of.
CT: What’s your closing message to the Cyprus Traveller audience?
Lufthansa Group is ontinuously renewing its fleet, making it more cost-efficient and its operations more environment-friendly. The Group fleet currently consists of 615 aircraft – on order are another 263 new aircraft, valued at a total of €37 billion at list price and scheduled for delivery by 2025. In addition to that, over the past three years, 106 Lufthansa long-haul aircraft have been fitted with state-of-the-art new Business and Economy Class cabins and seats and 76 aircraft have been provided with a new First Class cabin. Our programme to install the new Premium Economy Class – which has proved extremely popular with passengers – will also be completed on all 106 Lufthansa long-haul aircraft by this autumn.