Dubai: Capitalising the expected growth in Iran Air, German Carrier, and Lufthansa is currently in talks with Iran Air over providing catering services as well as maintenance, repair, and overhaul services.
“We are in intense discussion with the technical services of Iran Air. Also, LSG, our catering company, is in quite intense discussions in the Iranian market because they all see huge potential in that market,” said Heike Birlenbach, Senior Vice President of sales for Lufthansa Hub Airlines and chief commercial officer.
Lufthansa already flies to Iran, and the airline is planning to expand its presence outside of commercial flights into “all different fields” of the aviation market.
Speaking at a media roundtable in Dubai, Birlenbach described Iran as “a huge market with high potential.” She pointed that the Iranian economy was still “rather slow,” though, even after sanctions were lifted in 2016, and Lufthansa was still waiting to see developments in the economy.
Karsten Zang, Lufthansa’s senior director for the Gulf, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, said the company is also in discussion with Iran Air over offering flight training, considering the Iranian carrier has new aircraft coming in.
However, Lufthansa said its expansion plans in the country are seeing delays due to political developments.
“We are in very, very intense discussions almost on a weekly basis, but we figured it will take time. Next month, there are elections in Iran, and that will probably be an important milestone that might have influence on what’s going in Iran in the future,” he said.
Another factor influencing developments in Iran, Lufthansa said, is the US administration led by President Donald Trump who has repeatedly criticized the US deal that lifted sanctions off Iran.
In the region, Lufthansa also has a commercial partnership with Etihad Airways that includes a four-year $100 million deal on catering, and another deal on maintenance, repair, and overhaul. The two airlines also have a codeshare agreement that covers four routes.
Lufthansa’s Birlenbach said both airlines are currently focusing on implementing the codeshares, and are discussing details on the next steps regarding the maintenance deal. No timeline has been set.