“We hope that this move will fulfill the increasing demand in one of the fastest-growing destinations in India. This service will offer even faster and more convenient access between Pune and Europe for business travelers,” said Werner Heesen, Director South Asia, Lufthansa.
The city’s senior corporates, the target fliers for the flight that costs about Rs 130,000 for a return trip, are upbeat. “When I travel to a European destination, my problem is never the Mumbai-Munich/ London sector, but the Pune-Mumbai stretch that is fraught with uncertainties. This flight will take away that inconvenience,” said Pradeep Bhargava, Cummins Generation Technologies (CGT) Managing Director.
According to Ravi Pandit, Chairman & Group CEO, KPIT Cummins Infosystems, given the number of German companies in the city, the flight makes sound business sense. “We have a strong German office and our German clients are going to be very happy I’m sure,” he said.
The high fare does not seem much of a deterrent. “Most senior executives do travel business class. I may not send a bunch of youngsters in the company in this flight but for those who are entitled to it, it’s a welcome move and a great start for Pune,” said Bhargava.
Eva Wolfe Manfre, director Max Mueller Bhavan Pune echoes the sentiment. “It will do away with the hassle of landing in Mumbai at unearthly hours. I will certainly contemplate it though I hope later on they do add an economy craft too on the sector,” said Wolfe who put the German population in Pune around 300.
Airport manager Jeetendra Mathur said that other than the carrier setting up counters at the airport there are no special arrangements for the new flight. “It’s just like any other flight to Europe for us,” he said.