Corporate News

Lufthansa considers resuming flights to Manila

Posted on July 06, 2017

GERMAN flag carrier Lufthansa has sounded interest to fly again to Manila, citing the country’s “very” developed market and good economy.

“I can only say that we, of course, [in] Lufthansa is also interested in having direct flights to Manila again to elaborate on the economic situation of the Philippines so of course we’re interested in flying to Manila again,” Lufthansa Group Senior Director Tobias Heinrich told reporters at the sidelines of a signing ceremony for a Philippine-German agreement for maritime cooperation on Tuesday.

Lufthansa Airlines discontinued its daily connection from Frankfurt to Manila in 2008 due to commercial reasons as the German carrier said then that it plans to re-allocate its existing resources to tap into the profit potential of emerging markets then like China and India.

“It’s a very developed market. In Asia also, we really would like to see and participate of course in the development of the Philippines as a member of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). Southeast Asia is a very interesting market for us, so this is what makes it attractive,” Mr. Heinrich said. The Philippine economy registered one of fastest growth in the region, with a 6.9% gross domestic product (GDP) expansion last year. The government targets GDP growth to hit 6.5-7.5% this year, amid an infrastructure buildup that is seen to push growth to 7-8% from 2018 to 2022. Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said there’s already on-going discussions with Lufthansa for the resumption of the flights.

“Hopefully, one day, we can see again Lufthansa flying into the Republic of the Philippines on its own, that is being discussed right now,” Mr. Tugade said separately.

Lufthansa did not say when it would resume the service.

“We are in constant calculations but I cannot say when this would be a possibility but we would very much like to fly into Manila again,” Mr. Heinrich said. “Both [for] business as well as private travelers -- incoming as a tourist destination, as business destination, but also business into Germany so it’s mutual bilateral interest.”

As one of the world’s largest airlines, Lufthansa flies to at least 205 destinations with around 10,712 weekly flights. The Lufthansa Group, meanwhile, offers one of the most comprehensive networks of air services in the world, serving at least 316 destinations in 101 countries worldwide and over 23,140 weekly flights.

Mr. Heinrich was part of a German delegation that visited Manila with German Federal Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure State Secretary Michael Odenwald. Mr. Tugade invited the German official during a meeting earlier this year where they agreed to expand ties in maritime, aviation and road transport, among others.

The resolution of one of the longest running disputes in aviation involving the Philippine government and the Philippine International Airport Terminals Co., Inc. -- whose foreign partner is German airport builder and operator Fraport AG -- paved the way for more bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

“The payment of Philippine government was very important to re-establish trust. So, the step [Mr.] Tugade took was a very important step. So I think we can be very optimistic here and make a good start,” Mr. Odenwald said in his speech during the signing ceremony for the maritime accord. -- Imee Charlee C. Delavin