All Nippon Airways mulls Lufthansa tie-up expansion to boost volume

2012 03 10

ALL Nippon Airways (ANA) president Shinichiro Ito has said that the airline may expand a venture with Lufthansa after greater cooperation with its partner helped the Japanese carrier double transfer passengers at its main international hub.

ANA may start tie-ups with Lufthansa units Swiss International Air Lines AG, Austrian Airlines AG and Brussels Airlines NV, Bloomberg reported. The Tokyo-based airline began the Lufthansa venture in October following the start of a similar accord with United Continental Holdings (UAL) in April 2011.

"We've had a big boost in passengers flying to Narita airport and changing planes" because of the two pacts, Mr Ito said, adding that widening the Lufthansa agreement "is definitely a possibility."

The carrier, the only operator of Boeing 787s, may also start flights to Moscow using the aircraft, as it expands international operations.

"About half of Japanese flying abroad use non-Japanese airlines, so there is a lot of room for ANA to expand its international business," Seigo Ando, a Tokyo-based senior analyst at Deutsche Bank AG said. "Moscow is a good destination, as there are many potential passengers related to automakers and other kinds of companies going there from Japan for business."

Mr Ito said ANA is also focusing on full services to differentiate from those of low-cost carriers. It's backing two of the new low-cost carriers in Japan - Peach Aviation Ltd, which began flights recently, and AirAsia Japan Co, which will start services in August. The two may generate annual revenue of as much as JPY 200 billion (US$2.5 billion) within five years.

Under the ventures with United and Lufthansa, ANA coordinates schedules with its partners, as well as sharing revenue. The pacts helped boost ANA's transfers at Narita Airport to about 100,000 in the fourth quarter of 2011, a 170 per cent increase from a year earlier.

"A lot more are using it as a hub to fly to China and other areas in Asia," Mr Ito said.

Lufthansa is focusing on fully implementing the bilateral agreement with ANA by April 1, spokesman for the airline, Boris Ogursky said. The agreement allows the possible entry of the carrier's affiliate airlines, he said, adding that no decision has been taken on the matter yet.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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