As reported earlier, Lufthansa is looking to expand its presence in India following the demise of Jet Airways. The airline has now announced the signing of a codeshare agreement with Indian carrier Vistara, the Tata-SIA joint venture.
Lufthansa will place its “LH” code on 18 Vistara flights. With this tie-up six new routes will be added to Lufthansa's network, namely Ahmedabad, Kochi, Pune, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Goa. More destinations are expected to be brought up under the ambit of the codeshare, next year.
Vinod Kannan, Vistara’s Chief Strategy Officer, says: “As a growing global carrier, one of our key goals is to offer an extended international network to our customers through such strategic associations. This helps us widen our customer base outside of India. We are delighted to strengthen our partnership with Lufthansa, an airline we share many things in common with and bring to our customers a delightful, world-class flying experience”.
Vistara is India's second largest premium carrier after Air India. However, the latter continues to have a monopoly on international services to Europe and North America. With the new agreement, Lufthansa will be able to expand its presence in India. However, we can expect that Vistara will in future, also place its code on a number of Lufthansa-operated flights. For now however, passengers will have to book through Lufthansa's website.
George Ettiyil, Senior Director Sales for the Lufthansa Group Airlines in South Asia said: “This marks Lufthansa’s commitment to offering its Indian customers world-class international travel experiences and enabling them to use their preferred mileage program on codeshare routes. By teaming up with Vistara we will strengthen and expand our position as the leading and most popular European airline in India – a country all set to become the third-largest aviation market in just a few years’ time “
Vistara currently operates only single aisle aircraft but will be adding the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to its fleet by next year enabling it to start operations to London. The carrier has already been granted slots at London Gatwick, allowing the carrier to pursue growth further west.