Lufthansa will expand its route network by launching flights to Jakarta via Kuala Lumpur from summer 2014.
The German flag carrier currently flies four times a week from Frankfurt to Kuala Lumpur via Bangkok.
But from March 30 next year, Lufthansa will serve the Malaysian capital five times weekly without a stopover, and then with an extra leg to Jakarta. Lufthansa last served Jakarta, from Munich, in late 2012.
At the same time Lufthansa will:
- Cease flying to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) in Vietnam
- Convert its daily Frankfurt-Bangkok A340-600 flight into a terminator service, thereby providing more seats into the Thai capital
The new Frankfurt-Kuala Lumpur-Jakarta route will be served by an Airbus A340-600 aircraft, and will feature a three-class configuration with eight seats in first class, 48 in business, and 270 seats in economy.
Operating every Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, flight LH782 will depart Frankfurt at 2205 and arrive in Kuala Lumpur at 1605 the following day. After a short layover, LH782 will leave Kuala Lumpur at 1725 before touching down in Jakarta at 1820.
The return flight will see flight LH783 depart Jakarta at 1935 and arrive back in Kuala Lumpur at 2235. The same aircraft will leave Kuala Lumpur just before midnight at 2355 and touch down in Frankfurt at 0625 the following day.
It is unclear at the present time whether or not Lufthansa will be able to secure local traffic rights for the Kuala Lumpur to Jakarta leg.
The airline's Jakarta service will compete with KLM's existing daily service along with Garuda's six times weekly service. Both depart Amsterdam but, at present, KLM is the sole European airline serving Indonesia.
However, Lufthansa will also be up against Air France, which is planning a daily service via Singapore to Jakarta for summer 2014 (see news, October 9).
But that's not all. Yet more seats will be provided to and from Jakarta as Garuda says it will operate three times a week into London Gatwick from the end of May (see news, October 29).
All of which means that British Airways may abandon plans to proceed with its rumoured Jakarta service because the addition of so much extra capacity will depress yields (i.e. revenue per seat) as fares are likely to tumble. There have been whispers that BA had been planning to extend its existing Singapore terminator service to Jakarta.
What is also noteworthy is Lufthansa's decision to show faith with Thailand. In the past, Lufthansa had threatened to withdraw from Bangkok because of severe price competition from the Gulf airlines.
Nevertheless, Lufthansa faces tough non-stop competition from Thai Airways. It flies twice daily into Frankfurt — one flight is operated by an A340-600, but the other is rostered for an A380 with more passenger appeal.
Thai's A380 features its latest premium products including fully-flat beds in business class. (The aircraft used by Lufthansa, a three-class A340-600, comes with angled lie-flat seating in business class as does the A340-600 used by Thai).
Kay Kratky, member of the executive board in charge of operations and the Frankfurt hub, said: "We're pleased that we continue to offer direct flights to Jakarta and additional services to Kuala Lumpur. Indonesia and Malaysia are economically significant countries."
Clement Huang and Alex McWhirter