International airlines are scared about the high cost of operations in India and some have given up already and left, Wolfgang Will, director, South Asia for Lufthansa, told HT.
“What all airlines are complaining is the high cost of operations in India. Price hikes, when it comes to airport charges, are unbelievable. Fuel prices in India are one of the most expensive worldwide,” Will said.
“It’s a daily challenge to see how we can make flights profitable. Some have really given up. We have seen Delta leave the market this year and significant cuts by Virgin Atlantic.”
However, India, he said, was a strategic market “where we invest and where we think it is really worth to fight the competition and to operate with the best products and newest aircraft.”
However, the big airlines from Gulf, who control a large chunk of the outbound traffic from India, weren’t deploying their best products on their flights to India, he said.
“The big hype (of Gulf carriers) is already over. It’s not true that they have all their splendid and terrific products on each and every aircraft, especially for India. What you see in advertisements is not always the reality,” Will said.
The Lufthansa Group, he said, had no plans to invest in an Indian carrier.
The German airline wants to deploy the A380, the world’s largest commercial aircraft, to Mumbai.
It already operates the A380 to Delhi. “It’s obvious that the next airport, which would be considered is Mumbai because of the large corporate presence. We had the opportunity last year but unfortunately the airport was not ready.”