Lufthansa mulls return of direct flights to Manila

Louise Maureen Simeon - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Germany’s flag carrier Lufthansa is assessing the viability of flying back to Manila as part of its expansion plans in Southeast Asia.

During the recent German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry forum, Lufthansa officials said Southeast Asia remains an important region, with Manila on the “list of evaluation to be a destination in the future.”

Anlee Do, general manager for Lufthansa Group-Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines and the Mekong Region, said the airline is looking for the best aircraft to fly the route.

“The reason why it’s not happening now is that we don’t have the right aircraft yet. We are waiting for 200 aircraft to be delivered and we need to use the right one to actually fly to Manila,” Do said.

“Because when it happens, it’s not going to be via somewhere, it’s going to be a nonstop service all the way from Europe to Manila,” she said.

Last December, Lufthansa said it ordered 200 aircraft including Airbus A220s and Boeing 737s, which it has not operated since 2016.

The aircraft orders worth roughly $9 billion are expected to be delivered from 2026 to 2032.

“We have to be very careful with the correct aircraft. And also we want to make it very sustainable. But we don’t really know when they are arriving,” Do said.

In 2008, Lufthansa Airlines stopped its daily flights from Frankfurt to Manila, citing commercial reasons.

At the time, Lufthansa moved to re-allocate its resources in other key destinations such as China and India. Talks of Lufthansa’s possible return surfaced in 2017 but nothing materialized.

“Manila is actually one of the destinations we want to come back to. It’s a big and important market, even though we’re not even flying here,” Do said.

Currently, Lufthansa only flies to Bangkok and Singapore from various destinations in Europe including Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich and Vienna.

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