TTW – How was the year 2013 for Lufthansa?
Nils Haupt : The year was pretty good. We once again expect around 100 million passengers for Lufthansa Group. We saw a strong demand in corporate travel – but also leisure travel was doing well.
TTW – What are new innovations, facilities and initiatives taken to make flying a pleasure?
Nils Haupt : We currently have more than 200 aircraft on order – among them the A380, the Boeing 777X, the Airbus 350 and the Boeing 747-8. The order value is exceeding 36 billion Euro. With the introduction of our new business class in 2012 we have managed to attract many new customers – and they like the new product very much. In 2014 we will introduce our new Premium Economy Class – then being one of the very few airlines offering four different products on long haul flights.
TTW: Lufthansa Group has remained as a pioneer in working behind testing alternative fuels. What made you undertake certain initiative?
Nils Haupt : Lufthansa has always worked on various sustainability issues. We carried out pioneering work in 2011 by running a long-term trial of biofuel in regular scheduled flight operations and demonstrated that biofuels can be used without problem in everyday settings. Currently, the company is committed to a range of future-oriented projects that focus on alternative fuels. The direction of these efforts is set by the Biofuel Strategy 2020, approved by the Executive Board in 2012.
TTW: How have you adopted corporate social responsibility in the services that you provide the flyers?
Nils Haupt : Our social responsibility covers Human Resources Management – , numerous activities for a culture of diversity, employment policies based on partnership, corporate training and continuing education and employee safety and health protection. Only happy and satisfied employees can happily serve our 100 million customers per year. In terms of Corporate Citizenship we have numerous social commitments, have our own “Help Alliance” supporting people in different development countries worldwide, run our own orphanage in Nairobi (“Cargo Human Care”) and are committed to several environmental and cultural partners worldwide.
TTW: Innovating new style and technologies for first class lounges make travelling more comfortable and pleasant. What is your take on this?
Nils Haupt : The business class of today has the same comfort like the first class 25 years ago. The first class experience today is a superior experience – and makes flying as stress free as possible. Flying First Class today is relaxing at first glance – at the ground and in the air. Lufthansa has invested millions of Euro to further enhance this travel experience – for instance in our lounges worldwide. Our customers love this experience – and we just received a five star ranking of SkyTrax for our First Class product. In the coming years we continue to invest a three digit million Euro amount in further improving our existing lounges worldwide.
TTW: What are such certain initiatives that are in your mind or you have already taken to revamp your airport lounges?
Nils Haupt : Our First Class Terminal in Frankfurt offers a cigar lounge, offers the widest Whiskey selection worldwide, offers a direct transfer from the Lounge directly to the aircraft. With initiatives like this Lufthansa has always been at the forefront of developments. In the future Lufthansa will further upgrade its First Class product – in the air and on the ground. Our target is to be the first Five Star Airline in Europe in 2016.
TTW: Flying should be made safe and secured for the travellers. What are safe and sustainable initiatives undertaken by you to make travelling safe and danger free?
Nils Haupt : Lufthansa has just been voted the safest airline worldwide – and we are fully committed to safety and security. We exceed the legal requirements for pilots and flight crews voluntarily by far – as we want our crews to be the best in the industry. Lufthansa Technik – our 100% subsidiary – is the world’s largest Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul Company worldwide. They take care of the daily safety of our operations worldwide – and stand for going the extra mile when it comes to safety issues.
TTW: There is a recent shift from agency booking of the tickets to online booking. What are the differences that you have come across? What are the initiatives taken by you to make you online booking portal more in demand?
Nils Haupt : For some years we see a continuous shift to online bookings. Lufthansa has invested millions in convenient booking engines and in further improving the booking experience for customers booking online. Lufthansa.com has grown from a booking channel to a service site which offers countless services for customers around the globe – from additional travel services to seat reservation, from hotel deals to menu selections. Our different Social Media activities support the use of Lufthansa.com. We expect a further boost of Lufthansa.com in the near future.
TTW: The new Germanwings for the specific Europe route sounds very attractive. Can you give a detail insight on the initiatives taken and the difference it will make in future?
Nils Haupt : Germanwings is the 100% subsidiary of Lufthansa – offering flights from the non-hub-airports in Germany (all airports served by Lufthansa except Frankfurt and Munich. True to the motto “Reasonably priced but not cheap”, the airline’s employees focus all the more on meeting customer’s wishes to the fullest. Passengers are able to choose from three basic Economy Class modules for this – Best, Smart and Basic. The Best fare represents the best product currently available on inter-European low-cost routes and is setting standards in the industry. A seat in one of the three forward-most rows will be reserved for the passenger. There he will enjoy a very generous seat pitch of 32 inches (81.2 centimetres) and an empty middle seat beside him. Other components of the new Best fare include access to Lufthansa lounges, priority check-in and the use of the fast lane at security checks, more miles in the Miles & More program, HON Circle miles, double the baggage allowance (two items weighing 23 kilograms each), à la carte catering on board, flexible rebooking and ticket cancellation. The Best fare is as a first step available on all connections within Germany and in the core European markets for Germanwings, i.e. Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Russia, France and the UK. The Smart fare of the new Germanwings is the new standard fare and corresponds to a conventional Economy product with exceptional quality. Rows towards the front of the aircraft will be reserved for passengers on this fare.
They will enjoy the same generous 32-inch (81.2-centimeter) seat pitch as those on the Best fare. Smart includes catering in the form of a snack and non-alcoholic drinks as well as a 23-kilogram baggage allowance. The lowest fare is the Basic fare, corresponding to a conventional low-cost product. Those who avail of this fare will opt to forego free catering and a baggage allowance, for example, and will be able to choose a seat from row eleven back. What makes Germanwings special is that extras to the Smart and Basic fares can be added. Each passenger will be able to simply and flexibly build the product he wants from a menu of low-cost high-quality options.