Tuesday, August 18, 2020

India travel demand high, says Lufthansa as air bubble flights to Germany resume

The Lufthansa Group on Monday expressed confidence that air travel demand to and from India remains high despite the COVID-19 lockdown disruption, as it welcomed the bilateral air bubble agreement which allowed Germany’s largest airline to resume flights from India last week.

George Ettiyil, Lufthansa Group’s Senior Director for South Asia Sales, said the airline is offering more than 40 flights from Frankfurt and Munich to Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore until the end of August, beyond which it hopes to formally apply for inbound flights to India in consultation with Indian authorities.

“For India, one of our most important international markets, we are seeing positive developments after it was more or less cut off from the rest of the world since mid-March,” said Ettiyil, in reference to the coronavirus lockdown which grounded flights in March.
“Since travel demand to and from India remains high, we will formally apply for inbound flights to India beyond August in due time and will be in close consultation with Indian authorities concerning this. In this context it is important to note that our flights to and from India are relief flights and not regular flights. They address the continuing need for essential travel to and from India, bringing people together again and to support the travel needs of businesses,” he said.
In an effort to open up more flights, India has struck bilateral air bubble arrangements allowing travel to and from certain countries including Germany, the US, UK and France.
The Lufthansa Group has been making use of the Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction Test (RT-PCR test) at German airports, which helps detect acute infection linked to coronavirus, as part of this gradual resumption of flights.
“Since July, Lufthansa has been offering Indian customers a convenient option at Frankfurt and Munich airports to test for coronavirus on short notice. These PCR coronavirus tests only require a throat swab and are certified by German health authorities,” said Ettiyil, who is hopeful that such tests would be adopted at more airports around the world, including India.
17/08/20 PTI/Indian Express
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