As SWISS completes a decade of operations on the Delhi–Zurich route, Paurus Nekoo, GM Sales–India, Lufthansa Group, says India is a key market for SWISS and they continuously innovate to enhance travel experience.
PEDEN DOMA BHUTIA
Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS), part of the Lufthansa Group, celebrated 10 years of operations on the Delhi–Zurich route by hosting a special walk titled ‘The Delhi Seductress” featuring Mehrauli Archeological Park. The walk explored the by-lanes of Mehrauli, its multi-faceted history and architecture through visits to mausoleums, step wells as well as several other structures modified during its history. SWISS and experts from Darwesh – a travel and culture studio jointly led the event.
While such an occasion normally calls for an invitation at a five-star hotel over lunch or dinner, SWISS decided to do it differently and Paurus Nekoo, General Manager Sales, India, Lufthansa Group, on behalf of SWISS explains why, “We are proud to add another milestone to our history with India. As an airline deeply rooted in tradition and culture, we are delighted to celebrate this occasion with a unique activity that pays tribute to Delhi’s rich cultural heritage. This is our way of showing our deep engagement with the people of Delhi by appreciating their culture and history.”
Talking about the change in the Indian aviation scenario, he says, “Aviation, as far as international travel is concerned, is growing year on-year and one sees a huge growth from India. Today, globally, there are very few markets that are growing, but India’s aviation sector shows an exponential growth and there are many carriers coming in every year, still, there’s enough business for all of us.”
It is this growth in the aviation sector that has propelled India as a key market for many carriers. As Nekoo explains, “India is a key market for SWISS and over the years, we have constantly innovated to elevate travel experience for passengers to and from India. From special meals, Indian flight attendants to Bollywood movies onboard, we are committed to deepen our connect with our customers by extending the very best of Swiss warmth and hospitality onboard.”
This gradual rise in the importance of the Indian market is what pushes the group to constantly evolve its product offerings. “When we talk about SWISS we talk about the Lufthansa Group, we introduced Brussels Airlines in 2017, in the Mumbai-Brussels route, we got the A350s, so, the very first A350 that Lufthansa had was on the Delhi–Munich route, we also had A350 in the Mumbai-Munich route. What we have noticed is that the Indian traveller is willing to pay a little more for comfort, reliability and connectivity and that’s what SWISS international Airlines along with Lufthansa and Brussels offer.”
“As an airline deeply rooted in tradition and culture, we are delighted to celebrate this occasion with a unique activity that pays tribute to Delhi’s rich cultural heritage. This is our way of showing our deep engagement with the people of Delhi by appreciating their culture and history.”
Proud of the fact that he has an excellent team to back him, Nekoo says the legacy of the Lufthansa group is a very strong factor that adds to their success. “From a sales perspective, the most important thing is that I lead a very strong sales force which is very well known, respected and accepted by the travel agents fraternity and corporate customers. So, we already have a huge base when it comes to our FIT customers as well as business travellers and we have the whole travel agent community, so, when we launch a new airline our past legacy makes us take this new one also forward and make it a success.”
Add to the legacy, the airline also has partnerships to ensure enhanced connectivity. Ask him if partnerships or joint ventures are the future for the aviation industry and Nekoo concurs, “Partnerships and joint ventures are definitely favourable. For Lufthasa group when it comes to North America we have the Atlantic joint venture with United Airlines and Air Canada which means that the passenger pays one fare and on that fare he can use any of these five airlines. He can go outbound on one airline and return on the other and the same is the case with our corporate offers.”
Not just partnerships, the Lufthansa Group has also been at the forefront of unbundling and Nekoo says the beauty about unbundling is that the passengers pay for what they want and what they don’t want. “There are certain things that a passenger needs at least on a long haul, but beyond that he/she may not be too picky about others, whereas some may want to pay extra for more legroom, lounge access or to carry extra baggage. This further fuels sales for airlines,” he says.
As Nekoo concludes on a happy note, “The year 2017 has been a super year and a record year for us.”