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The Warsaw Voice » Business » November 28, 2013
Business & Economy
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Quality Comes First
November 28, 2013   
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Bart Buyse, General Manager of Lufthansa Poland, says the airline aims to lead the way in terms of innovation, reliability and quality.

Lufthansa is known for offering the highest quality products to corporate travelers, not only on the Polish market, but also in Europe and worldwide. What facilities are awaiting passengers?
Approximately 70 percent of Lufthansa passengers are corporate travelers. They chose Lufthansa for many reasons. An airline that offers more than 250 flights a week out of Poland offers outstanding flexibility. Now Lufthansa is offering customers an even wider choice of destinations: 212 in 81 countries. We fly from seven cities in Poland and from those we offer from two to up to 15 flights daily. Lufthansa provides guests with some 70 lounges around the world, and together with the more than 900 lounges provided by Star Alliance and partners, Lufthansa has one of the industry’s largest lounge networks. We are the only carrier providing broadband wireless internet—FlyNet—on board our long-haul aircraft. What’s more, Lufthansa is the only carrier in Europe that is putting the Boeing 747-8 into service, the newest type of jumbo jet. It guarantees a very comfortable journey for all passengers, no matter where they are sitting. The noise level in the plane is 30 percent lower than in the previous generation of aircraft.

What destinations are the most popular among Lufthansa passengers?
When it comes to the intercontinental network, one of the favorite destinations for Poles is Asia—especially Bangkok, Singapore, Shanghai and Beijing. Due to the fact that we offer very attractive prices, tickets to those destinations are swiftly sold out, because so many people are going to Asia. Since we have good availability and competitive prices, many people fly with us to Delhi, Bombay, New York, San Francisco, Miami, Los Angeles and Johannesburg. When we look at the European market, the most desired tourist destinations are in the Mediterranean “sunbelt.” Customers from all cities in Poland mainly buy tickets to Barcelona, Madrid, Milan, Rome, Lyon, Marseille, Lisbon, Athens and, of course, to big cities like Paris and London. Germany is also very popular.

Travel has changed completely over the last several decades. More and more tourists are choosing to fly—an easy and cheap method of long-distance travel. What do you do to encourage people to choose your airline?
We offer safety, excellent service and comfort at a very attractive price. Clients’ expectations in Poland are a high priority for Lufthansa, and we are proud that we are strengthening our position and capabilities. Increased capacity offered to travelers from all around Poland, but especially from the regions, provides even more passengers with convenient access to Lufthansa’s vast global network. Lufthansa is increasing its winter capacity in Poland by 20 percent, and in the summer our schedule will grow by more than 30 percent. And further optimization of the summer schedule is planned.

With all the product updates and investments, Lufthansa is putting in a lot of effort to become the first Western airline to receive five stars from Skytrax, the airline rating agency, for its overall product in the near future. We are undergoing the biggest fleet investment program in our corporate history. By 2014 some 3 billion euros will be channeled into product improvements for our passengers. By continuously investing in our products and services, including in economically challenging times, we aim to make our customers our priority and to lead the way in terms of product innovation, reliable operations and quality.

What do you think is the reason for growing interest in premium-class travel?
Perceptions have changed and people now consider flying as a means of transport that is available to everyone. Nowadays not only the price is important, but also travel comfort. What is surprising is that interest in our premium products is growing faster than demand for economy class. In order to meet our clients’ expectations, we constantly keep investing. Our first-class travel services are considered the best in the Western world. Skytrax has given us five stars for our first-class services. By the end of 2014, all our long-haul aircraft will have ergonomically shaped First and Business Class seats, which can be easily turned into fully flat beds. We have reshuffled our economy-class seats and upgraded personal video screens as well.

Is Lufthansa also investing in its fleet?
Lufthansa is constantly investing in its fleet to fulfill the expectations of the most demanding passengers. It has invested 14 billion euros at list prices in the latest fleet order for 34 Boeing 777-9Xs and 25 Airbus A350-900s. This is the largest single private-sector investment in the history of German industry. The new aircraft are ecological, consume less fuel and reduce noise levels significantly, so that not only passengers but also people living close to airports will feel the difference.
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