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Date published 04.09.2017

LUFTHANSA is to boost its operation and grow travel agency sales in South Africa through new direct connect agreements with TMCs and increased capacity from subsidiary brands from October. Lufthansa Group General Manager Andre Schulz said discussions with trade partners have been positive, despite market resistance to new distribution cost charges.

Revenue is up and 2017 is shaping up to be a “fantastic” year, Dr. Schulz said.

The group’s five-year forecast for the South African market is also positive, reflected in the number of new brands and increased frequencies on Cape Town and Johannesburg routes (‘Eurowings to bring budget fare model to SA’ – TIR September 2017).

Sympathetic towards British Airways, as the market reacted to IAG’s plans to levy non-direct bookings from November 1, Dr. Schulz said accusations that the strategy unfairly punished agents was “just not true”. Iberia bookings will also be subject to the new charge (‘New GDS fee discriminates against agents says ASATA’ – TIR July 2017).

Commemorating Lufthansa’s 55 year anniversary earlier this year, Dr. Schulz remarked: “The era of digitalisation and personalisation within the travel sector is upon us. Travellers are and will continue to expect a greater degree of personalisation when it comes to the travel experience, and Lufthansa’s digitalisation strategy is one way by which we will continually meet and exceed our travellers’ expectations.

“We look forward to continuing our growth in South Africa by providing and improving on our best-in-class travel experiences… [and] best practice industry processes and products.”

• For the full story, see the September issue of TIR, available now at www.tir.co.za – direct link here.

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