Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Lufthansa Gets Its Indonesian Wings

Deutsche Lufthansa plans to increase its flights to Indonesia to capitalize on growing demand for flights to and from Europe and the uptick in investment in the archipelago, an official from the German airline said.

“Many German companies are making big investments in this country,” Leo Tonidandel, the airline’s newly appointed general manager for Indonesia, said on Wednesday. “Indonesia will continue to grow, but it won’t grow for 20 years continuously, so this is the right moment.”

German companies, such as carmakers Audi and Daimler, are enjoying a significant growth in their sales in Indonesia. The archipelago’s car market is dominated by Japanese brands, but German brands dominate the premium market.

From Oct. 30, Lufthansa’s will offer daily flights to Jakarta from Munich via Singapore on new wide-bodied Airbus A340-330 aircraft. The company will also launch a service on the new A380, a double-decked wide-body aircraft, which will travel from Frankfurt to Singapore before allowing passengers to fly through to Jakarta on a smaller aircraft.

Tonidandel expects to add more routes to Indonesia, potentially to Bali, the nation’s most popular tourist destination.

Rudiana, vice chairman of the Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agencies, said the number of German travelers heading to Bali is only moderate, meaning there is potential for growth.
Rudiana agreed that Europe was a high-demand destination for Indonesians working in the automotive and manufacturing sector. But travel agencies say visa approval to visit Germany is one of the most difficult to obtain.

“Getting a German visa is almost more difficult to arrange than a US visa,” Rudiana said.

The European financial crisis has not had a significant impact on Lufthansa’s business, said Frank Puettman, Lufthansa’s head of corporate communications for Asia Pacific. But the company is buffered from the impact of Europe because more of its flights are concentrated in Asia than in Europe.

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