Lufthansa group chief executive Carsten Spohr says he is keen to work more closely with Cathay Pacific to build on their recently announced codeshare agreement, describing the Hong Kong-based carrier as a “perfect fit”.
In April, the pan-European airline group comprising Lufthansa, Swiss and Austrian Airlines began codesharing on Cathay’s flights from Hong Kong to Auckland, Cairns, Melbourne and Sydney.
Similarly, Cathay added its CX airline code on flights to 14 destinations in Europe from Frankfurt, Vienna and Zurich.
Spohr says the arrangements with Cathay help increase available seats for Lufthansa in the Australian market, given it recently ended codesharing on Thai Airways’ services to this country from Bangkok.
“It’s such a beautiful place Australia we need more than one partner to serve it,” Spohr told reporters at the recent International Air Transport Association (IATA) annual general meeting held at Cancun, Mexico. “It’s true.”
“There’s some traffic via Singapore obviously, which is a long time partner.
“Bangkok we don’t codeshare anymore with Thai so we used to have two partners which were Thai and Singapore. Now it is two partners Singapore and Cathay.”
Lufthansa also has a joint-venture with Singapore Airlines covering flights between four European countries (Austria, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland) and four Asia Pacific countries (Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore) that the Singapore Competition Commission approved in December 2016.
Cathay, a member of the oneworld alliance, flies to 10 destinations in Europe with its own aircraft, including Düsseldorf and Frankfurt in Germany, as well as Zurich in Switzerland.
Lufthansa flies to Hong Kong from Frankfurt and Munich, while Austrian serves the city from Vienna and Swiss from Zurich.
The pair already has a joint-venture in cargo transport, having forged a cooperation agreement in 2016 that covers joint marketing of their respective freight capacity between Hong Kong and Europe.
“I think Cathay Pacific is the perfect fit for Lufthansa in many ways,” Spohr said.
“It is an airline which is focused on premium, it is an airline which has sustainability, they’re not just there for one or two years, for decades they have had I think superior service.
“It is an airline which very much depends on cargo as well as Lufthansa, because they have a strong home cargo market, Hong Kong, we have a strong home cargo market, Germany.”
Asked about the prospects of a joint-venture with Cathay on the passenger side, Spohr said: “There’s hurdles to do that, anti-trust issues and other restrictions but yes basically we believe that a joint venture is the crown of any partnership.”
“That’s always a thing we’re striving for, a potential crowing of the partnership in a joint venture. We’re a long way away from that.”