The Korea Herald


Lufthansa CEO upbeat about Korea's market potential

By Kim Hae-yeon

Published : June 18, 2024 - 12:01

    • Link copied

Lufthansa Group CEO Carsten Spohr speaks during a press conference at a Seoul hotel on June 5. (Lufthansa Group) Lufthansa Group CEO Carsten Spohr speaks during a press conference at a Seoul hotel on June 5. (Lufthansa Group)

Lufthansa Group CEO Carsten Spohr visited Seoul earlier this month to renew his commitment to the Korean market, where demand for premium airline services continues to grow.

"We see tremendous potential in the Korean market and will strive to offer a premium experience to Korean customers with our vast selection of routes," the CEO said during a press conference held at a Seoul hotel on June 5. He was visiting Korea to attend an executive meeting in the Asia-Pacific region.

He especially highlighted the growing demand from business travelers as Korean firms increasingly invest in expanding overseas operations, including massive plants in key markets.

"For Korean corporations on business trips, we offer travel from Incheon to Eastern Europe, where many Korean production lines are located. We are also well represented in South America, where Hyundai Motor, for instance, has a massive production line (in Brazil). Conversely, we also connect European businesspeople to Korea, playing the role of facilitating economic relationships in between the countries," he added.

Starting this summer, Lufthansa will operate Boeing 727-82 jumbo jets on the Incheon and Frankfurt routes, catering to the growing business demand.

Last month, Lufthansa Group’s Swiss Airlines also resumed its Incheon-Zurich flights for the first time in 27 years.

The CEO recounted that 40 years ago, Lufthansa started with just one flight per week to Korea. "Now we operate 17 flights weekly, and we see many more Koreans traveling individually and willing to spend on premium classes like first class and business class," he said, highlighting Korea's rapid growth and market importance.

Regarding Korean Air's merger with Asiana Airlines, Spohr said that the merger of Korea's top two airlines would increase the competition for Lufthansa Group. However, the group plans to differentiate itself by focusing on premium services.

"Until a few years ago, group travelers dominated the Korean market, but now there are more individual travelers," he said. "For those travelers looking for new destinations within our network and valuing quality, we want to make Lufthansa Group the name to seek."

Lufthansa, in partnership with Korea Railroad Corporation, started the Rail & Air transfer service in October last year. In April this year, it also launched a city airport terminal at Seoul Station, the first of its kind by a foreign air carrier here.

As Europe's No. 1 airline company and the fourth-largest globally, Lufthansa serves over 500 cities worldwide and generated 35.4 billion euros ($37.9 billion) in sales last year. Its subsidiaries include Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Swiss Airlines, Eurowings and Brussels Airlines.