For the last few weeks’ internet forums were abuzz with Lufthansa’s Pune operations with Airbus A319. When I reached out to Lufthansa, the team was kind to share complete details about the operations. Lufthansa and PrivatAir abruptly suspended cooperation for commercial reasons in Summer 2018. While bookings closed for further flights, passengers were re-accommodated on flights via Mumbai.
The airline opened bookings for its Pune service starting end of October but to be operated using its own A319 with a refueling stop at Baku, inbound and outbound. The airline is selling a block of three seats as one business class seat and offering only 22 seats in Business instead of 44. The airline is selling all 72 seats in economy for this sector which will operate four times a week. Starting 28th Oct 2018, the airline would operate at below times
LH768 FRA1030 – 1805GYD1850 – 0050+1PNQ 319 x157
LH769 PNQ0210 – 0610GYD0655 – 0915FRA 319 x126
Today, Routes Online published an update about resumption of PrivatAir service to Pune starting 1st February 2019. The flight would operate at below timings
LH768 FRA1150 – 0040+1PNQ 73W x2
LH769 PNQ0210 – 0635OTP0705 – 0845FRA 73W x3
The B737-700 is the longest narrow body flight in the world outbound from Frankfurt. The flight has a 30 minute refueling halt at Bucharest while flying from Pune to Frankfurt. The flight would operate 6 times a week starting February.
PrivatAir initially operated the B737-800 aircraft on this sector and later moved to B737-700 (D-AWBB). When the aircraft was withdrawn from the service, it was largely believed that another aircraft (D-AWBC) which was serving SAS Scandinavian Airlines would be deployed but as the deal fell through, it operated for British Airways for a while before being idle.
Pune is one of the top 10 airports in India and sees maximum concentration and investment from German industries. The area has over 60 companies with German lineage and is a ready market for Lufthansa. Pune is also one of the top IT centers in the country and thus sees a lot of business traffic to North America. The airport is a civil enclave with the runway shared with a frontline air force base and is not long enough to handle wide body aircraft.
While the PrivatAir aircraft has full Inflight Entertainment (IFE) system, the A319 filling in temporarily will offer FlyNet on board along with options to download e-journals on smarphone, tablet and/or laptop. The airline plans to carry more newspapers and magazines on board the A319 service. There is a high probability that the PrivatAir aircraft will take up this route, earlier than planned.