Air India has officially opened its European hub at the Frankfurt International Airport from where it will operate its west-bound flights.
The airline had launched two new daily US-bound flights from Mumbai and Delhi and back last Sunday. The Deputy Chairman of the Frankfurt International Airport Stefan Schulte has said that Air India’s chances of joining the Star Alliance, the consortium of 21 global carriers, have been improved by the opening of the Frankfurt hub. “It is a good preparation for joining the alliance,” he said.
He hailed it as a milestone in more than 50 years of cooperation between the airport and India’s national carrier and said it could lead to closer tie-ups in the coming years.
Air India and its passengers can now benefit from the airports’ excellent connectivity, modern infrastructure and opportunities for operating new flights to many destinations, he said.
The Frankfurt Airport is ready to offer Air India more such facilities to expand its operations, he said.
Air India has good prospects to start new flights to and from Frankfurt when the airport’s third runway becomes operational by the year 2011.
India’s Consul General Ajit Kumar said the opening of Frankfurt hub is a great occasion for Air India and for India’s civil aviation industry. It will help Air India to re-establish its credentials in Germany as a leading international airline, which suffered a setback when it ceased operating from the Frankfurt Airport for three years.
Air India is one of the few international airlines still expanding in this difficult global economic situation and this shows that the airline is well-placed to cope with the economic and financial crisis and slump in global air travel, Kumar said.
By operating some of the most modern aircraft and offering seamless transfer for US-bound passengers from India and back at the Frankfurt hub, Air India is now in a position to compete with other international airlines, Air India’s Regional Manager (Central Europe) Ratan Bali said.
Air India’s passengers can also get convenient connections via the Frankfurt hub to a number of destinations in Germany, in Europe and in the United States on Lufthansa flights through code-sharing arrangements.
Air India has plans to tap the market potential of the Indian diaspora in Germany and in other European countries by launching publicity campaigns to inform them about the attractive prices, most modern facilities and convenient connections Air India’s flights are offering for travelers from Europe and the United States to India and vice versa, Bali said.