Lufthansa said it is currently in talks with Iran Air over providing catering services as well as maintenance, repair, and overhaul services as the German carrier aims to capitalise on expected growth in the Iranian economy.
“We are in intense discussion with the technical services of Iran Air. Also, LSG, our catering company, is in quite intense discussions in the Iranian market because they all see huge potential in that market,” said Heike Birlenbach, senior vice president of sales for Lufthansa Hub Airlines and chief commercial officer.
Lufthansa already flies to Iran, and the airline is planning to expand its presence outside of commercial flights into “all different fields” of the aviation market.
Speaking at a media roundtable in Dubai, Birlenbach described Iran as “a huge market with high potential.” She pointed that the Iranian economy was still “rather slow,” though, even after sanctions were lifted in 2016, and Lufthansa was still waiting to see developments in the economy.
Karsten Zang, Lufthansa’s senior director for the Gulf, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, said the company is also in discussion with Iran Air over offering flight training, considering the Iranian carrier has new aircraft coming in.
However, Lufthansa said its expansion plans in the country are seeing delays due to political developments.
“We expected it [agreements] should happen in 2016, but we figured out the timelines are non-existent because of developments that are influencing timelines. We are in very, very intense discussions almost on a weekly basis, but we figured it will take time. Next month, there are elections in Iran, and that will probably be an important milestone that might have influence on what’s going in Iran in the future,” he said.
Another factor influencing developments in Iran, Lufthansa said, is the US administration led by President Donald Trump who has repeatedly criticized the US deal that lifted sanctions off Iran.
In the region, Lufthansa also has a commercial partnership with Etihad Airways that includes a four-year $100 million deal on catering, and another deal on maintenance, repair, and overhaul. The two airlines also have a codeshare agreement that covers four routes.
Lufthansa’s Birlenbach said both airlines are currently focusing on implementing the codeshares, and are discussing details on the next steps regarding the maintenance deal. No timeline has been set.
Lufthansa to invest €500m in innovation
Dubai: Lufthansa Group said on Wednesday it plans to invest €500 million on innovations, which include plans to digitalise and customise services offered by the German carrier to its passengers.
Heike Birlenbach, senior vice president of sales for Lufthansa Hub Airlines and chief commercial officer, said the company is looking for areas in innovation in the industry, and is planning to modernize its aircraft and introduce better products.
She said the aim of the new investments is to improve customer travel experience and push ahead of competition. The new offerings will include personalized services and will cover services before and after departure, as well as on board aircraft.