New Delhi: European airline group Lufthansa said on Wednesday it was open to marketing arrangements with its counterparts in India for boosting its share in the rapidly growing air travel market in the subcontinent.

Lufthansa and other foreign airlines operating in India are vying to cater to international traffic to and from India. According to official data from the directorate general of civil aviation, domestic airlines served 3.1 million passengers flying out of India, while international carriers served 4.7 million passengers flying out of the country.

George Ettiyil, senior director, sales, South Asia, Lufthansa Group Airlines, said the group was evaluating the Indian market, which he said was very dynamic and still evolving.

“We are definitely open to interline and code share arrangements… We want a partner for the long run. We are looking at what is possible, how much of traffic is there from second tier cities to the markets where we are operating. We have a Delhi-Vienna codeshare deal with Air India and we are open to having more such arrangements," said Ettiyil.

“India is expected to be the third largest aviation market by 2024. We are hoping to capture some of that growth. India is a strategic market and we are totally committed to it," said Alain Chisari, vice-president, sales, Lufthansa Group Airlines, Asia Pacific. India will be the third largest aviation market globally by 2024 from its current seventh position, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) had said in a report last October.

Lufthansa Group currently offers 58 flights from four Indian cities — Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru — and from Sri Lanka connecting 343 destinations in more than 100 countries via its European hubs of Frankfurt, Munch and Zurich. The group was planning to add two Indian cities to its operations but was yet to identify them, Ettiyil said. 

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