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WHO declares SARS threat over

Lufthansa increasing flights offered to Asia

The threat of the lung disease SARS is over and the spread of the epidemic is under control –this was the conclusion drawn by…

The threat of the lung disease SARS is over and the spread of the epidemic is under control –this was the conclusion drawn by the World Health Organisation WHO within the scope of a conference of experts in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur this week. For Lufthansa this represents the starting signal to build up its offer of flights to Asia once again. As of July, there will once again be 19 weekly Lufthansa connections to major Chinese cities.

Currently, flights are operating to the cities of Hong Kong and Beijing each three times a week and Shanghai has a daily service. For July it is planned to offer five flights a week to Beijing, with daily services to Hong Kong and Shanghai. As of August, all three cities will once again be provided with daily services.

The trough of the crisis in the Asia-Pacific traffic area seems to have been passed. We now hope for a quick return to normal of the business traffic and a steady increase in demand in the region. Dependent on the customers` wishes we are also in a position to offer additional flights at short notice, says Wolfgang Mayrhuber, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Deutsche Lufthansa AG.

In addition to the lung disease SARS, the persisting weakness in the economy and effects of the Iraq war have led to a worldwide slump in demand in air traffic. Lufthansa was particularly hard-hit by the consequences of SARS in the Asia/Pacific traffic region where the airline had previously gained the market leadership among the European Airlines. In recent weeks, demand had slumped dramatically by up to 86 percent on some Asian routes, with the consequence that the weekly offer to the major Asian cities was radically reduced and smaller aircraft operated.

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