Lufthansa’s Japan operations back on track

LUFTHANSA has resumed normal operations in Japan following the tsunami, earthquake and nuclear crisis there.

Having reduced capacity on its Japan routes by 25 per cent in the immediate aftermath of the disaster to maintain load factors of about 80 per cent, the airline’s services to Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo (Narita) are now back on full schedule.

Speaking at a media gathering yesterday to announce the stewardship transition of the German national carrier’s Asia-Pacific operations, outgoing Lufthansa vice president Asia & Pacific, Uwe Mueller, said that many Japanese were starting to book air tickets again, ending a six-week period where the airline had been experiencing cancellations and a downturn on its Japanese routes.

Meanwhile, Lufthansa’s operations in the rest of Asia, excluding Japan, has seen a double-digit increase in business for the first quarter of the year, compared to the same period in 2010.

“Our yearly outlook in Asia, excluding Japan, is going as planned,” said Mueller. “We are confident we will achieve our target of 14 to 15 per cent increase in capacity through employing larger aircraft and increasing frequencies.”

Incoming Lufthansa vice president Asia & Pacific, Steffen Harbath, said expansion in the region would focus on the key markets of China and India. “Asia-Pacific profitability is the backbone of Lufthansa profitability,” he said.

Harbath added that the airline was not planning to launch any new destinations in Asia-Pacific this year.

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