Cape Town - In the past Lufthansa only had a seasonal direct flight between Munich and Cape Town from about October to April, therefore, during the European winter.
This was mainly due to German tourists coming to the Cape over that period.
"We saw the potential for a year-round direct flight and, therefore, started with three weekly direct flights between Cape Town and Frankfurt," says Dr Andre Schulz, general manager of Lufthansa for Southern Africa, told Fin24 on Wednesday.
"Usually it was mostly inbound traffic over that period, but now we see a balance with outbound sales from Cape Town and we see a nice potential out of Cape Town. So, as from October 17 we will have five weekly directly flights between Cape Town and Frankfurt as well."
Lufthansa will also be introducing a new brand on the route with its Eurowings airline staring with direct flights between Cologne and Cape Town once a week as from November. This comes hot on the heels of the newly introduced Eurowings direct flight between Cologne and Windhoek.
"Eurowings is our premium low cost airline. It provides quality at a low cost where you pay only for the options you choose to take," explained Schulz. "Therefore, it is targeting a more price sensitive customer."
He said German tourists are increasingly looking for new destinations and Namibia can prove to be popular due to the value for money it offers and its historic link with Germany.
"With our new Eurowings offer to Cape Town, we are opening up the market also for people who might not have travelled before. We are seeing both Namibia and the Western Cape picking up as destinations. And on top of that our seasonal three times weekly direct flights on Edelweiss will again run from October to April," said Schulz.
Austrian Airlines is also set to return to the Cape Town market with twice weekly direct flights.
At the same time Johannesburg still forms the backbone of the Lufthansa group's operations in South Africa and the airline has just celebrated its 55th year of presence in SA.
"We have a long-term commitment in SA and our direct flights from Johannesburg to Zurich and to Frankfurt remain very popular," said Schulz.
The Johannesburg route remains very stable for the group because of the corporate share of the market.
"There is intense competition on international flights in the SA market and that is why there are aggressive pricing and incentive strategies. I believe if you understand the needs of your customers and tailor make your product, you have a strong case - and that is what we do," said Schulz.
The premium economy class, for instance, is proving to be very popular on the group's SA routes.
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