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The Warsaw Voice » Business » July 18, 2017
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Safety, Reliability and Quality
July 18, 2017   
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Peter Pullem, Senior Director Sales Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe, Lufthansa Group talks to Voice's Witold Żygulski

What can you tell us about Lufthansa’s strategy for Central European countries for the next couple of years?
CEE countries are very dynamic and its economies continue to developing rapidly. That growth reflects also in the demand for airtravel. For the Lufthansa Group we are keeping a strong focus on CEE as we have already today a very dense network and flight offer in these countries. Poland is our most important and biggest market within the CEE the fastest growing and developing country, followed by Croatia and Hungary. We constantly look closely these markets to search for new growth opportunities to fulfill customers’ needs. We have just introduced WiFi on short and mid-haul flights in Europe on board of Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines – passengers from all over the region will be able to access the Internet via Wifi using the their own mobile devices.

In your opinion, what are the main advantages of Lufthansa?
Undoubtedly, safety, reliability and quality always comes first for Lufthansa. However, putting focus on customer needs is also our main concern. Therefore we invest in expansion of our global vast network as well as state-of-art fleet. Lufthansa Group Airlines – Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Eurowings, Lufthansa and Swiss – will become even more attractive to holidaymakers and leisure travelers this upcoming summer. As always, passengers can rely on the high standard of service, of the Group airlines.

Since 2011, Lufthansa has invested an average of around EUR 1m per day in refitting its cabins. The total amount invested comes to approximately EUR 1.5bn. Around 39,000 seats have been either replaced, modified or, in the case of new aircraft, fitted on Lufthansa’s long-haul aircraft. Moreover, around 3,600 seats have been newly fitted on Lufthansa’s 106 long-haul aircraft for the new Premium Economy Class, which has already become a top-seller. The customer ratings for the latest class show a high level of satisfaction - the seating comfort, the service and the excellent value for money are praised in particular. Lufthansa Group also invests massively in new aircraft – in the current year we receive around 40 new aircraft in our fleet. The newest technology leads to higher comfort for the passengers, lower emissions and less cost.

What is more, Lufthansa provides guests with some 70 lounges around the world, and together with more than 900 lounges provided by Star Alliance and cooperation partners, Lufthansa has one of the industry’s largest lounge networks.

Lufthansa Group has achieved important successes in its all three strategic pillars – network airlines, point-to-point airlines and aviation services. Our strategic reorientation is picking up steam and we have resolved the major labor disputes. Lufthansa Group is on its way forward.

According to Lufthansa official statement, digitalization will be one of the main pillars of your strategy: can you tell us some details of this process?
Between now and 2020, the Lufthansa Group will be investing 500 million euros in the new development and improvement of personalized digital offers alone. We offer our clients state of the art technology to respond to their requests and provide them with the best possible support for their journeys. It isn’t just about major innovations – it’s also about all the little things that make travelling with us more pleasant, more comfortable and more personalized. For example, travelers can already download 250 newspapers and magazines as eJournals – 7 in Polish and more to come. Customers can also ask the chatbot “Mildred” about the best prices for flights. They can also access current information regarding their flight with the Apple Watch while in the air and much, much more. Most recently, the airline group has been developing a new application for the “personal assistant” Google Home. The little device will soon be able to use text to speech technology to answer questions regarding upcoming Lufthansa flights. At Lufthansa, digitalization is much more than just developing new apps. We are now operating also with the world’s most eco-friendly and efficient long-haul aircraft, A350, which provides much more spacious experience and pleasant cabin pressure, larger screens as well as special lightning system which adjusts to the time of the day.

What is your personal opinion of Polish customers - are they any different than anywhere else in the world?
We observe that Polish customers travel more and more, thus we constantly expand our capacity in the market. The total number of weekly flights the Lufthansa Group is offering from Poland in the summer 2017 schedule is 353 flights and we are very satisfied with the seat load factors and the demand . 60% of our Polish customers are corporate travellers , while over 50% of clients choose regional airport as a start of their trip. That corporate share is one of the highest in all markets, so many companies in Poland trust our service and appreciate our Partner Plus Benefit program designed for them.
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