LUFTHANSA has withdrawn its thrice-weekly Frankfurt-Kolkata services, effective March 25, citing an unprofitable route that operated five times weekly at its peak.
Only 30 per cent of Lufthansa’s Kolkata-Frankfurt business-class seats were sold on average, compared to 70 per cent on its New Delhi-Frankfurt and Mumbai-Frankfurt routes.
Increasing competition from Emirates and Qatar Airways (TTG Asia e-Daily, December 2, 2011) on Kolkata-Europe connections via the Middle East may have also contributed to the decision.
Sanjay Kothari, managing director, Just Holidays Kolkata said: “I am disappointed with the withdrawal of Lufthansa flights, as a direct flight to Europe is always better for our outbound group movements. We hope other European carriers will fill the gap soon.”
Debjit Dutta, chairman, Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India West Bengal and North East Chapter said: “We expect inbound numbers to grow as the destinations and products in Kolkata and its neighbourhood are drawing the attention of international tourists. Airlines are bound to come when there is demand from passengers.”
Meanwhile, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata has postponed the opening of its new third terminal from February to September (TTG Asia e-Daily, June 22, 2011). The 195,000m2 facility will boost handling capacity to 20 million passengers a year, up from four million currently.