German carrier Lufthansa is continuing to replace Boeing-737s with Airbus-320s and has added four additional flights to Russia for its summer schedule, which now consists of 110 flights a week between Germany and Russia and the C.I.S.
Last year, the airline carried some 620,000 passengers between German and Russian cities and now expects a passenger increase of at least 10 percent.
"In Russia and the C.I.S., the results of the first two months [January and February 2001] have shown 42 percent revenue growth as compared to year 2000," said Ulrich Rueger, Lufthansa regional director for Russia and the C.I.S.
Rueger said the airline is increasing its capacity to St. Petersburg, Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod. "Our observations: Incoming tourism is increasing Russian passengers average 35 percent on Lufthansa flights. Our flights to Russian destinations are traditionally full in the summertime with tourist groups," he said.
In addition to four ticket offices at the Sheremetyevo airport and the Renaissance, Baltschug-Kempinski and Sheraton hotels Lufthansa will open two more soon, most probably in the other large hotels," he said.
Lufthansa is also going online in Russia, with the help of Russian Internet company Molotok, and will hold Net auctions, where the tickets' discount range will be 20-80 percent. However, officials say they consider the Internet to be just one way of attracting more clients and are not going to refocus from traditional sales.
In Germany, Lufthansa and the Munich airport are joining efforts in construction of a new Terminal-2 addition to the airport, another Lufthansa hub along with Frankfurt. "This is an unprecedented case when a user, a customer, helps with such work," Rueger said.
Rueger denied rumors that Lufthansa is moving to Moscow's Domodedovo airport. "However, as an airline operating worldwide, Lufthansa typically flies to several airports [at each large destination]. So, Domodedovo is a bad-weather alternative to Sheremetyevo, as our analysis has shown that if one of them is closed, the other is open because of the different weather conditions due to some 80 km of distance between them," he said.